T-Mobile has long made it clear that it plans to shut down Sprint’s legacy network after it has successfully moved most of the customers and traffic onto its own network. Now, it appears Sprint’s network might be around for only about a year more.
In a notice sent to its business customers, T-Mobile says it “intends to shut down the Sprint CDMA Network on or around January 1, 2022”. The capacity and coverage of the network will likely change between now and the time the network is fully shut down.
This change will only affect CDMA-only phones though, or dual-mode CDMA/LTE devices that do not support Voice over LTE (VoLTE). If you own such a device, you’ll need to upgrade to a newer device to continue using T-Mobile’s wireless services. VoLTE-capable CDMA/LTE devices will lose CDMA capability but LTE data service will continue to function.
T-Mobile will also no longer support CDMA-only phones without VoLTE capability for activation after January 1, 2021. The company says a customer representative will reach out to you over the next several months “to discuss transition options that meet your business needs.”
Note that this is different from T-Mobile’s recently outlined network upgrade device compatibility list. Some older devices, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (AT&T and Verizon models), Google Nexus 9, OnePlus 1, and the Sony Xperia Z3 series will no longer work on the carrier’s wireless network beginning on January 29th, 2021.
You can find the full list of affected devices here. Affected customers will be able to upgrade to one of the following four phones for free: Samsung Galaxy A21, Samsung Galaxy A11, Alcatel GO FLIP 3, or a T-Mobile REVVL 4.
T-Mobile to shut down the Sprint CDMA Network
Following the merger with Sprint earlier this year, T-Mobile has been taking steps to gradually shut down the former’s network. The company has, in fact, already done some on an “isolated basis,” CEO Mike Sievert had revealed during a UBS investor event earlier this month.
Mr. Sievert suggested that T-Mobile likely will begin the full shut down process in 2022. After all, there’s no reason for the company to operate two separate wireless networks simultaneously. Now, the company has started notifying its customers about those plans as well. It’s worth noting that the aforementioned letter only addresses T-Mobile’s business customers. So the shutdown timeline for regular subscribers may vary.
This isn’t the only wireless network T-Mobile has shut down over the years. The company decommissioned the MetroPCS network following its acquisition in October 2012. Additionally, T-Mobile is also shutting its 3G voice network early next year.
However, the shut down of the Sprint CDMA Network is the biggest one in recent wireless history. Sprint had around 50 million customers before its merger with T-Mobile. Many of those customers have devices that can also work on T-Mobile’s network. So this transition should be relatively smooth for the company.