Remember when AT&T told customers that their phones would stop working and encouraged them to buy new ones during a pandemic? T-Mobile will reportedly also send such messages, but it seems the company could handle it a bit differently (and hopefully less aggressively) than AT&T, according to a clear internal T-Mobile document shared by Android police.
T-Mobile will reportedly require phones on its network from January 2021 to support voice over LTE (VoLTE). That means that if your phone does not currently support VoLTE, you will need to upgrade if you want to keep making calls using that phone on T-Mobile. And apparently, T-Mobile plans to phase out older technologies so much that it will reportedly shut down new devices that don’t support VoLTE on August 4, which takes just a few weeks.
Here is the document Android police shared, if you want to search yourself:
When asked, T-Mobile did not confirm the timeline in the document, but did share some details in line:
[…]we will discontinue some older technologies over time to release even more capacity for LTE and 5G. In preparation for this and to give customers the best experience, those who activate new lines at T-Mobile need a VoLTE device, which we have been offering for years and which represents the vast majority of devices on the network.
What T-Mobile seems to be saying is that unless you haven’t upgraded your phone for a long time, you probably won’t run into any issues if VoLTE is required.
When it’s time for T-Mobile to tell some customers to upgrade, hopefully the company will learn from AT & T’s mistakes. Yesterday, AT&T scared some customers by emailing them with the large, blue, bold capital letters. “NEED UPDATE,To let them know that their phone is “not compatible with the new network” and that they need to replace it to continue getting service. (Some customers felt that the email was so serious that they thought it was a scam.)
However, what AT&T failed to make clear is that those customers will not need to upgrade their phones until early 2022 – that’s when AT&T plans to shut down its 3G network and when some devices stop working. Let’s hope T-Mobile is clearer about what customers should do and when to do it.
Verizon is also shutting down its 3G network, saying last year it would delay shutdown at the end of 2020. As of 2018, it will no longer activate phones that don’t support LTE.