T-Mobile CDMA network shutdown pushed back by three months

JC Torres - Oct 24, 2021, 9:25pm CDT
T-Mobile CDMA network shutdown pushed back by three months

The industry-wide push to get 5G adopted as fast as possible doesn’t come without costs, even for those who have no intention of moving to the next-gen network yet. As part of upgrading their systems and infrastructures, carriers are also taking the opportunity to sunset old technologies and equipment, from 2G to even some 3G. T-Mobile is similarly using the time to quit using the CDMA technology it inherited from its Sprint acquisition, and it’s moving its deadline for that shutdown next year to give partners like Dish more time to prepare.

Shutting down networks is always a tricky deal, but it may have become trickier when some corporate mudslinging is involved, subtly or otherwise. It’s only natural that T-Mobile will want to ditch the CDMA network it didn’t want to use anyway, but that meant disrupting customers and partners that relied on it. It’s giving affected people and especially businesses time to migrate their systems and devices to 4G LTE or, preferably, 5G, and the deadline was initially set for January 1, 2022.

Now T-Mobile is announcing that it is giving those partners even more time by extending the date by three months. That means that Sprint’s CDMA network will still be in operation until March 31, 2022. Given that T-Mobile announced its plans to shut the network down last year, it believes that should be enough time for those partners to get ready.

Its extension, however, comes with a not-so-subtle jab at unnamed partners that the carrier described as not having followed through on their responsibility. Given a recent public spat between T-Mobile and one such partner, however, it might be clear to industry watchers who that is. It won’t be a surprise if Dish Network fires off its own tirade to add fuel to that fire.

Dish bought Boost from T-Mobile to help the latter acquire Sprint. Dish believed that it would have three years to get things in order and migrate its new customers over to 4G or 5G. T-Mobile shattered those expectations when it announced the earlier January 2022 shutdown date, and the two have been public at war ever since.

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