Some say that progress can’t be stopped but you can definitely try holding it back as hard as you can. Sooner or later, though, it will catch up and when it does, there will always be those left behind. T-Mobile probably thinks that price is worth paying for, especially when the casualties are phones were launched half a decade ago. Given current economic conditions, however, T-Mobile’s push for a VoLTE-only network could come off as pretty insensitive.
VoLTE or Voice over LTE is a technology that has been around for years, admittedly. Phones that supported coursing voice calls over higher-speed data lines have been around as far back as 2015 and may have even been a selling point for some high-end smartphones of that time. T-Mobile thinks it’s about time to fully embrace that technology and leave behind those that can’t catch up.
In a statement to Android Police, T-Mobile confirmed that it is indeed abandoning phones that don’t support VoLTE, at least for those activating new lines on the carrier. This is all for the sake of freeing up more capacity for LTE as well as everyone’s favorite buzzword, 5G.
The document that the site got hold off, however, paints a more dreary picture. It won’t just be new lines but any device that needs to connect to T-Mobile’s network has to be VoLTE-capable by January 2021. This might cover not just T-Mobile itself but its MVNO Metro as well as Sprint. Other MVNOs may also apply the same requirement, though that is less clear at this point.
Of course, this means that those with older phones will be “steered” to activate a new device, which means buying a new phone. To be fair, T-Mobile isn’t alone in this push as AT&T was also revealed to similarly force its customers to phones that can support its HD Voice service. And as the response to that revelation showed, both campaigns couldn’t have come at a worse time for US consumers.