T-Mobile finally confirms when its 3G UMTS network will shut down

T-Mobile finally confirms when its 3G UMTS network will shut down

Carriers are quickly moving to re-farm their older network technology, and now T-Mobile has confirmed a new date for its 3G UMTS shutdown.

July 1st, 2022, is the new confirmed shutdown date for T-Mobile’s original 3G network. A leaked document last month seemed to indicate the 3G UMTS shutdown was set for October of this year, but it appears T-Mobile has decided to keep 3G around a bit longer.

As newer technology arrives, cell carriers must retire older equipment to make way for the new. The radio frequencies these older networks use can then be reused for things like 5G.

All three major carriers have plans to shut down their 3G networks. Verizon plans to shutter theirs in December of 2022, while AT&T is set to turn 3G off in February. T-Mobile has the added bonus of absorbing and redistributing Sprint’s old spectrum as well, which it has already put in use with its n41 mid-band 5G.

The decision to delay the 3G UMTS shutdown is likely due to the millions of IoT devices using 3G network technology. The manufacturers of these companies need time to deploy updated technology that can take advantage of the newer LTE and 5G network.

The company previously confirmed former Sprint network shutdown dates of January 1st, 2022, for CDMA and June 30th, 2022, for their LTE/5G. Those dates are also confirmed on this new support document.

There’s no word yet on what, if any, bonus promotions or free phones T-Mobile will offer to users of 3G-only devices. They’ve offered free 5G phones with trade-in of any other functioning phone since April, however those require a 2-year installment plan to technically be “free”. AT&T has been sending new phones to many customers with devices incompatible with their network, sometimes against their will, while Verizon’s shutdown is likely too far out to offer any promotional deals for 3G users.

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Victor Wright
Victor Wright

A web development nerd with an interest in cell carriers and all things gadget and tech.