As reported by Light Reading and confirmed to The Verge, T-Mobile has committed to a June 30, 2022 shutdown date for Sprint’s LTE network. It’s an expected move as T-Mobile continues to absorb Sprint’s network and customers into its own base, and comes six months after its contentious planned January 1, 2022 shutdown of Sprint’s 3G CDMA network.
A third of Sprint customers have already been moved onto the T-Mobile network, according to T-Mobile. The company expects to be able to migrate the remaining two thirds by that mid-2022 deadline, according to CFO Peter Osvaldik’s remarks at an investor conference last month. Some of those customers will likely need new devices that are compatible with T-Mobile LTE and VoLTE, though the company has had no shortage of enticing 5G phone offers lately. T-Mobile says it will reach out to all customers who will need a new SIM card or device to stay connected, but if you’re curious whether your device is compatible you can run an IMEI check on T-Mobile’s website.
The Sprint LTE network shutdown doesn’t come as a shock — by Sprint’s own admission the network wasn’t very good to begin with, and T-Mobile hasn’t been shy about moving quickly to consolidate Sprint’s network assets with its own. The company’s 3G shutdown timeline has been the source of a lot of bad blood between T-Mobile and Dish Network, which acquired Sprint’s former prepaid business Boost Mobile as part of the merger deal.
The relationship has soured to the point of Dish announcing that it would take the majority of its MVNO business to AT&T — which T-Mobile followed with a promotional offer directed at Boost customers. Boost had no additional comments to share about the potential impacts of the LTE shutdown on its customers when contacted by The Verge.
T-Mobile has launched the first Standalone 5G service in America to give you a great network experience. To access Standalone 5G, the SIM card in your compatible 5G device must be Standalone 5G capable.
Why did I get a message about changing my SIM card?
- T-Mobile is committed to providing the largest, most reliable 5G network in the Nation. This means we are regularly rolling out new technology to enhance and grow our 5G network.
- While your current SIM card is 5G compatible, it is not capable of using the 5G standalone technology we recently rolled out.
- Changing your SIM card will help to ensure you get more 5G in more places when using a compatible device, such as indoors and in rural locations, and will make sure you're ready to take advantage of future network enhancement.
What to do
- If you have the SIM card that came with your 5G device, you just need to activate it.
- If you no longer have the SIM that came with your 5G device, contact us or stop by a store for a replacement SIM.
For your security, the account holder or an authorized user must make the request.
What is Standalone 5G?
What it does
Standalone architecture is the future of wireless connectivity. It will help bring 5G closer to reaching its true potential with:
- Faster speeds
- Lower latency, so you can experience shorter delays
- Massive connectivity
Why it matters
Standalone 5G will help pave the way for new applications and supercharge things like:
- Mobile augmented and virtual reality
- Cloud gaming
- Real-time translation
- And so much more!
What you need to access Standalone 5G
At T-Mobile, there is no extra cost for Standalone 5G. Here’s all you need to get it (see FAQs for more details):
I’m already using 5G on my phone, why do I need to change my SIM?
T-Mobile recently launched new 5G standalone technology which will enable our customers to get more 5G in more places when using a compatible SIM and device. The SIM card you are using is not compatible with this new 5G standalone technology. You’ll want to update your SIM to ensure you can get the best network experience.
Will I get better 5G coverage once I change my SIM?
Changing your SIM will help to ensure you can access both our Standalone and Non-Standalone 5G when using a compatible device. While you may not see an immediate difference, this will ensure that you benefit from ongoing enhancements we will be making to our 5G network over the years.
What is Standalone 5G vs. Non-Standalone?
Non-standalone (NSA) relies on a mid-band LTE signal to access the 5G network. The device must connect to both LTE AND 5G. Standalone (SA) operates independently of the LTE network. With SA, the device connects to LTE OR 5G, whatever is the appropriate core network. SA allows full access to the benefits of 5G without the limitations of legacy LTE.
Who is eligible for Standalone 5G? Will I have to change my plan or pay more?
Customers’ T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile plans include access to 5G (SA and NSA) at no extra cost.
Are there any technical requirements to access SA 5G besides a compatible SIM?
Yes, your device must receive a software update from the manufacturer to work on 5G SA. All 5G capable devices will eventually be sent the software update; for some devices this has already happened while others will come at a later date. T-Mobile doesn’t currently have information from the manufacturers to know when.
If your devices haven’t received the update yet, it will still work great on our LTE network and on the Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G coverage, so you will see 5G when you travel to other locations. Once the software update is available, you’ll pick up the new 5G technology at your location too!
What benefits can I expect with Standalone 5G?
SA is a major milestone as it’s essential to unlocking truly transformational 5G in the future. Currently, Standalone 5G allows T-Mobile to expand 5G coverage and performs similar to NSA that already exists today. Down the road, Standalone 5G is expected to deliver the capacity, data speeds, and lower latency that will fuel future innovation. As 5G apps and innovations are introduced, they will be optimized on Standalone 5G technology.
Is standalone 5G faster than Non-Standalone?
Currently, Standalone 5G performs similar to NSA that already exists today. Down the road, Standalone 5G is expected to deliver the capacity, data speeds, and lower latency that will fuel future innovation. As 5G apps and innovations are introduced, they will be optimized on Standalone 5G technology.
Is Standalone the only 5G coverage on the T-Mobile network?
No, the majority of our nationwide 5G network is on NSA. We have started lighting up Standalone 5G in select areas and will roll out additional SA as we continue to expand the T-Mobile 5G network.
Where can I access Standalone 5G? Can I see it on your coverage map?
We’ve just started rolling out SA so it’s only available in select areas. The coverage map shows our nationwide 5G footprint so you’ll notice the expanded 5G coverage, especially in some rural areas and indoor locations where there wasn’t 5G coverage before. The map does not, however, distinguish SA from NSA. A T-Mobile care or retail sales associate can help identify if there’s SA in your area – if you’d like to learn more, please visit a T-Mobile retail store or call 611 on your mobile device.
Can Sprint customers with a 5G capable device access Standalone 5G?
Sprint 5G devices cannot access our newest Standalone 5G technology. These devices can, however, access our Nationwide 5G (NSA) coverage.
Can Metro customers with a 5G device access Standalone 5G?
Yes, customers on Metro by T-Mobile who meet the technical requirements can access Standalone 5G.
Capable device required; coverage not available in some areas. While 5G access won't require a certain plan or feature, some uses/services might. See Coverage details, Terms and Conditions, and Open Internet information for network management details (like video optimization) at T-Mobile.com.
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T-Mobile has decided to allow all Sprint customers to get a T-Mobile SIM. Here’s why that’s a bad thing.
TNX is T-Mobile’s name for moving Sprint customers to T-Mobile SIM cards. Currently, when a Sprint customer visits a T-Mobile store, the system will let the store rep know if the customer is eligible for TNX, and allow the switch. If the customer is in an area where they would be worse off (sometimes left with no signal at all) the system will not allow the customer to be TNX’d. That’s about to change.
According to a trusted source, starting on or around August 10th, T-Mobile’s systems will consider all Sprint customers as “eligible” for TNX. The system will apparently warn of congestion issues if applicable for a customer, but will no longer prevent reps from assigning a T-Mobile SIM. Thus, responsibility for judging if TNX will work for the customer is now on the rep.
At first glance, this may not seem like too big of a deal. However, T-Mobile offers “spiffs”, or one off bonuses, for every customer a rep switches from a Sprint SIM to a T-Mobile SIM. It’s easy to see how this might be a bit of a conflict of interest. In addition, the store itself is encouraged as a whole to switch customers to T-Mobile SIMs. This is yet another reason a rep may decide to TNX a customer regardless of a congestion/bad signal warning message.
T-Mobile has also apparently hinted that future flagship devices will only work on the T-Mobile network. This could mean the upcoming new iPhone, future Samsung devices, etc may actually require T-Mobile SIM cards to use, and will not work on the legacy Sprint network. This is likely a manufacturer decision to phase out the soon to be extinct network.
Obviously this isn’t great for legacy Sprint holdouts. So far, however, this isn’t a “forced” migration. Sprint customers may just have to face facts that TNX will eventually be required to continue service with T-Mobile. If you’re on a Sprint plan and want to just get it over with, you can order a SIM online here.
T-Mobile is upgrading some Sprint subscribers' plans
By Ryne Hager
Taxes and fees are included, plus extra hotspot data and a $50 credit if you buy a new phone
T-Mobile has started the process of merging its newly-acquired Sprint customers into its network, killing support for a handful of older phones some customers may still have ahead of the upcoming 2022 legacy network shutdown. Over the last day or two, some Sprint subscribers on specific plans have received notice that they'll be upgraded to improved T-Mobile-inspired plans. Perks of the change include tax-inclusive pricing, extra hotspot data, and a $50 credit if they buy a new device. However, some customers could pay up to $3 more per month under the new plans, and folks that don't want the change can opt out.
A T-Mobile representative tells us these are very specifically not T-Mobile plans, and subscribers are still on the Sprint platform, though they can enjoy T-Mobile-like benefits.
A notice received by a Sprint subscriber regarding the plan change.
The notice being sent to customers via SMS and email and is targeted to subscribers of four specific plans: Unlimited Basic, Unlimited Freedom, Unlimited Kickstart, and Unlimited 55+. The notice directs customers to an FAQ regarding the change that a T-Mobile representative tells us was published on January 5th. Customers on those plans will be upgraded to corresponding tax-inclusive plans. In some cases, that could mean a price increase, up to a maximum of an additional $3 a month, though we are told most customers will either pay around the same or see their prices reduced.
All of these plans are also getting hotspot data adjustments to go with the change, but the quantities vary. Unlimited Basic, Unlimited Kickstart, and Unlimited 55+ customers will get 5GB of hotspot data (up from 500MB, zero, and unlimited 3G, respectively, according to The T-Mo Report), and Unlimited Freedom customers are getting 60GB (up from 50GB). Only in the case of Unlimited 55+ is the change to 5GB a potential downgrade, though I wouldn't wish 3G hotspot speeds on anyone.
On top of that, customers on these plans are also getting a $50 rebate in the form of a prepaid Mastercard if they buy a new device from T-Mobile before the end of July — there are some terms, and you need to register to get it, so check the FAQ. All plans still include unlimited talk and text, as you'd likely expect, plus 5G access. Sprint customers that make the migration may also need to get new SIM cards to enjoy full benefits of the change, according to the FAQ.
These changes kick into gear 35 days after the notification is received, which means up to two billing cycles may pass before customers are migrated. If for any reason customers on those Sprint plans do not want to be "upgraded," they can also opt out during that period or up to 30 days after getting their first bill under the new plan.
Although the section of T-Mobile's FAQ discussing rate plan changes isn't very clear, we're told by a company representative that these plan migrations won't impose any new limits on accounts when it comes to things like video streaming. (For context, some T-Mobile plans place limits on streaming video quality unless you pay more.)
We should also point out that the support page regarding this change also mentions three other plan types: Unlimited Plus, Unlimited Premium, and Unlimited Savings. That could indicate that this offer or one similar to it will extend to more Sprint plans in the future.
UPDATE: 2021/01/12 4:40pm PST BY RYNE HAGER
A T-Mobile representative informs us that customers with these upgraded plans are still on the Sprint platform, and these are not technically "T-Mobile" plans, merely plans with T-Mobile-like benefits. Our coverage has been corrected.
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Ostensibly a senior editor, in reality just some verbose dude who digs on tech, loves Android, and hates anticompetitive practices. His only regret is that he didn't buy a Nokia N9 in 2012. Email tips or corrections to ryne at androidpolice dot com.
Sim upgrade tmobile
Did you get a text message from T-Mobile telling you that you should swap your SIM card to get the best 5G experience? If so, you’re not alone.
T-Mobile is sending texts to some customers this week to remind them that it’s a good idea to upgrade to the new SIM card that’s included when they buy a new device. The text includes a link to this web page explaining why you might need to upgrade to a new SIM.
To access T-Mobile’s standalone 5G coverage, your SIM card will need to be compatible with it. You can check to see if your SIM is compatible now by pulling it out of your device and checking to see if it says “R15”. If it does, you’re good to go.
If you see “TM” followed by four numbers on your SIM, you’ll need to switch to the new SIM card that came with your device.
If you’ve got a 5G device, it should’ve come with a new SIM that you could use with it. If you didn’t start using the new SIM and for some reason you no longer have it, you should contact customer support and get a free replacement.
T-Mobile activated its standalone 5G last month, and when it did T-Mo increased its overall 5G footprint by 30 percent. Standalone 5G also enables lower latency.
Currently there are only a handful of T-Mobile phones that’ve been updated to support standalone 5G, with the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G receiving an update to enable it today. T-Mo is planning to update more of its 5G phones to support standalone 5G, though, so even if your device doesn’t support the feature yet, it’s definitely worth taking a minute now to check your SIM card and ensure that you’re ready for standalone 5G when it comes to your phone.
Device transfer guide
Congrats on your new mobile device! Follow the steps below to set it up right.
Here to set up T-Mobile Home Internet? Get the details
1. Back up your content.
Make sure you do this before you turn on your new phone.
2. Set up your new device.
Current T-Mobile customers upgrading to a new device: Use the new SIM card that came in the box with your device. If you bought an iPhone, the SIM may already be installed. See how to install and activate your SIM at t-mobile.com/SIM.
Get more information
New customers or new phone lines: When your T-Mobile SIM Starter Kit arrives, follow the set-up instructions to insert the new SIM into your device and activate. Or see how at t-mobile.com/SIM.
3. Manage your content.
Plus, find out how to use and manage your new device.
Get the details
Trading in your old device?
Visit My.T-Mobile.com or the T‑Mobile app to print your shipping label. Don’t forget to turn off the Find My Phone feature before sending in your device.
Get the T-Mobile App today.
Upgrade your phone, pay your bill, manage your account, and contact Care—virtually anytime, anywhere.
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