T-Mobile, could you just pick a set of dates and stick with it, please? A few weeks ago the company's internal documents said it would be shutting down its legacy UMTS 3G network on October 1st, as announced earlier this year. But in a new press release, that date has been moved back for the better part of a year: it's now going out on July 1st, 2022.
Ahead of the shutdown of its 3G network early next year, AT&T has been prompting customers who own devices that are set to become obsolete to get new phones. It's gone so far as to offer a free if cheap replacement for those who request one. However, some subscribers who have yet to take action of any sort on this matter are receiving devices anyway and they're not the phones we were told to expect.
In its bid to keep on the forefront of the 5G race in the United States, T-Mobile hasn't made its plans to kill off its and Sprint's 3G networks exactly loud and clear, but we had a good idea of when the ball would start rolling and when it would finish. Well, that was until the plans apparently changed, before shifting again just a few months later.
AT&T is shutting down its 3G network next February and is prepared to give its customers a new phone for free lest their current one becomes useless —that is, they can't place calls over LTE. Just don't expect the carrier to go to great costs for your replacement.
Last year, AT&T sent out an email to its customers warning that their phones would soon lose support on its network, requiring an upgrade to a new device. Things weren't quite as drastic as the email read on paper, but it still managed to cause a sense of panic and urgency among subscribers. As we approach the halfway mark for the year, it's worth making sure your phone won't be affected by AT&T's upcoming changes to its network.
Today, Verizon put a date on its intention to shut down its aging 3G network: December 31st, 2022. It's not just the end of the extremely widespread 3G system, but a watershed moment for Verizon, since its network began on CDMA technology when the company was first formed in 2000. Greater reliance on the GSM-based LTE network, and finally pushing more customers towards 5G, has let the company wean itself off of the outdated standard.
If you're still using an old, non-LTE-capable phone on Cricket, we have bad news: the company will be shutting down its 3G UMTS networks in February 2022. Additionally, customers will no longer be able to activate their unsupported devices on Cricket starting January 19th, which is only a few days away. Because of the way Cricket handles BYOD phones, this is a real problem.
Based on internal documents from T-Mobile given to Android Police, some older devices, including the OnePlus One, Xperia Z3 series, and Nexus 9, will be unable to connect to the company's network beginning on January 29th. 19 devices, including phones, tablets, and even cameras, are named by the document. Affected customers will be notified by SMS beginning on December 28th, and will be able to upgrade to one of four phones for free.
With how much Verizon has been hyping its 5G capabilities of late, some might be surprised to learn that the carrier's 3G network is still in operation. And what might be even more surprising is that, despite past statements about scheduling a shutdown, Verizon is now saying it has no pending plans to retire 3G.
T-Mobile and Sprint officially became one company this year, but Sprint's former network still exists as a separate entity. T-Mobile customers gained the ability to roam on Sprint's cell towers back in September (with the correct devices, anyway), and if recent news is correct, the legacy network might only stick around for another year.