3G in the US continues to limp into the sunset3G in the US continues to limp into the sunset
T-Mobile said its 3G CDMA network shutdown will be completed 'no later than May 31.' That's a full five months after the January 1, 2022, shutdown date the company began circulating near the end of 2020.
March 31, 2022
T-Mobile said this week that its 3G CDMA network shutdown will be completed "no later than May 31." That's a full five months after the January 1, 2022, shut down date the company began circulating near the end of 2020.
"We are proceeding as planned with the orderly shutdown of our CDMA network beginning on March 31," a T-Mobile representative told a number of media outlets this week. "As part of our shutdown process, we are migrating customers in some areas over the following 60 days to ensure they are supported and not left without connectivity, and the network will be completely turned off by no later than May 31. This is a normal network transition process."
T-Mobile's new shutdown timeline is noteworthy considering its CFO earlier this month promised investors that the company's efforts would not be delayed.
"We're absolutely on track for CDMA decommissioning March 31," T-Mobile's Peter Osvaldik said during an investor event March 15, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. He said the shutdown ought to affect 200,000 to 300,000 T-Mobile phone customers, including those who have stopped using their devices.
Interestingly, some T-Mobile partners have hinted that the operator's new May 31 deadline is not set in stone. "There is a possibility that the date of May 31 will be rescheduled in the future," Japan's SoftBank reported on its own website. SoftBank owns roughly 8% of T-Mobile US.
During his recent investor appearance, Osvaldik said T-Mobile continues to expect to shut down its 3G UMTS network by July 1, 2022.
T-Mobile has said it wants to shutter its aging networks in order to redeploy its resources toward its newer 4G and 5G networks. However, the operator has faced headwinds. For example, Dish Network campaigned last year to delay T-Mobile's original January 1, 2022, CDMA shutdown plan because it will affect some of Dish's Boost Mobile customers. Partly as a result, T-Mobile late last year said it would delay the shutdown by three months, until March 31, 2022.
Figure 1: (Source: Holmes Garden Photos/Alamy Stock Photo)
Similarly, Verizon has delayed its own 3G shutdown plan several times. It now expects to fully complete its 3G network shutdown by January 1, 2023.
AT&T, for its part, appears to have mostly finished its own 3G shutdown, scheduled for February 22, 2022. Although the operator wouldn't respond to questions from Light Reading on the effort, reports indicate AT&T's 3G network is no longer available across wide areas of the country.
And that shutdown has affected some of AT&T's MVNO partners. "Following the end of 3G services, some [MVNOs] have been unable to use LTE/4G devices purchased through a third party or otherwise configured in a way that prevents them from connecting properly," an AT&T representative told FierceWireless this week. The operator added that its "working with these MVNOs to make sure their customers have devices and services compatible for our next-generation technology and services."
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