Thursday, 02 December 2021

T-Mobile delays 3G sunset for three months

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Monday 25 October 21

The operator is postponing the shut down of its CDMA services until March 2022, taking further potshots at Dish in the process

Back in August, T-Mobile accused Dish of ‘dragging their feet’ regarding the operator’s slow transition of customers off of CDMA (i.e., 3G) services and onto their. Now, T-Mobile is delaying their own CDMA shut down by an additional three months, perhaps in an effort to give Dish some wiggle room…

Back in August, T-Mobile accused Dish of ‘dragging their feet’ regarding the operator’s slow transition of customers off of CDMA (i.e., 3G) services and onto their. Now, T-Mobile is delaying their own CDMA shut down by an additional three months, perhaps in an effort to give Dish some wiggle room.

As part of the conditions for the $26 billion merger of T-Mobile with Sprint last year, T-Mobile was obligated to sell Sprint’s prepaid mobile business, Boost Mobile, to Dish. By October 2020, T-Mobile had announced that it would be shutting down Sprint’s CDMA network in January 2022, giving Dish just over a year to migrate existing customers to 4G and 5G. 

Dish complained at the time, arguing that they should have three years to transition their customers, who would often require new mobile devices entirely to access the 4G and 5G networks. By July 2021, the Department of Justice was expressing “grave concerns” over the speed of the shift, worried that it would leave customers potentially without service.

Now, T-Mobile has announced that it will push back the shut down of its CDMA network until March 31st 2022.

The operator noted that the decision to do so was not based on financial reasons, but rather to facilitate the switching process for the company’s “partners”. 

“Our reason for extending is simple: we want to give those partners who haven’t done the right thing for their customers every opportunity to step up now and do so,” said the company in a statement, likely aimed primarily at Dish.

“There should be no more room for excuses. We have provided even more time and those partners can follow suit with the effort that is needed to ensure no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide,” the statement continued. 

Tensions between Dish and T-Mobile are clearly on the rise and will likely get worse before they get better. It now remains to be seen whether Dish can achieve the transition of its customers onto 4G infrastructure before the looming April Fools Day deadline. 

 

Is 3G coming to the end of its lifespan in the US? Find out the latest on service sunset plans at this year’s Total Telecom Congress 

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