Wireless carrier T-Mobile confirmed this week that it will shut down the Sprint LTE network by June 30, 2022, Light Reading reports. The carrier already disclosed it would retire Sprint’s 3G CDMA network in January 2022. The announcement was considered somewhat controversial as Dish Network asked T-Mobile to maintain the network through part of next year. T-Mobile denied the request, despite the fact that a portion of Dish’s Boost Mobile customers still rely on Sprint’s CDMA network.
“Sprint and T-Mobile merged in April 2020 with a commitment to build the best 5G network – 5G for all,” T-Mobile said on its company website. “Since then, we’ve worked to combine Sprint’s assets with T-Mobile’s to deliver a transformative 5G network experience from big cities to small towns and places in between – and we are moving quickly to build our most advanced network ever.
“To ensure all customers can enjoy a more advanced 4G and 5G network, we will be retiring older network technologies to free up resources and spectrum that will help us strengthen our entire network, move all customers to more advanced technologies and bridge the Digital Divide. An additional part of this effort involves moving Sprint’s LTE spectrum to the T-Mobile network.”
Shutting down Sprint’s LTE network is part of T-Mobile’s efforts to fully assimilate Sprint after it acquired the carrier in a $26 billion deal, Light Reading reports. T-Mobile is currently building a 5G network that will use Sprint’s spectrum and tower assets. Building this 5G network will eventually result in Sprint’s legacy customers being removed from its network. T-Mobile has reportedly already shifted a third of Spring customers on to its network.
“Moving customers who are on old networks onto modern, advanced high-speed networks means they will need to have phones and devices that can tap into the latest technologies and don’t rely on older ones,” T-Mobile said. “We’ll ensure that we support our customers and partners through the transition. We began sending notifications late last year, and everyone who needs to act will be given advanced notice and hear directly from T-Mobile.”
T-Mobile doesn’t have a concrete plan for shutting down its 2G network yet, however. The carrier said it plans to retire the older GSM 2G and UMTS 3G networks, “but no date has been set.” T-Mobile did say that customers who move from older technologies to 4G or 5G service will receive broadband speeds that are 100 to 300 times faster, as well as enhanced public safety and 911 location accuracy capabilities.
It’s not only T-Mobile that is shuttering older networks so it can bring more resources to more modern and capable networking technologies, however. AT&T plans to close down its 3G network in early 2022 and Verizon looks to do the same at the beginning of 2023, Light Reading reports.
“Across the industry, wireless companies are working to retire older network technologies as part of an important progression that will greatly enhance the performance of 4G and 5G, giving customers a better wireless experience,” T-Mobile said.
Joe Dyton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.