Not too long ago, AT&T had sent an intimation to all its customers that their phones would no longer work like before and that they would need to purchase new models during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic so that their phones continue working. However, closely following the heels of AT&T, looks like T-Mobile too might send a similar sort of message to its customers.
Android Police has come across an internal document from T-Mobile which states that phones on its network that connect to 4G LTE and 5G networks would need to support the voice over LTE feature (VoLTE) from January 2021 onwards. In simple terms, in case a phone requiring the VoLTE feature does not support it at present, the device will have to be upgraded such that it supports the same. By doing so, one can ensure that the phone can continue making calls.
Take a look at the following snippet related to T-Mobile which was found by AndroidPolice.
What do the above requirements mean?
T-Mobile is all set to stop activating those phones on its network that does not support the VoLTE functionality. And this is all set to happen from August 4th onwards, barely a couple of weeks away from now. In other words, all non-VoLTE devices on the T-Mobile network would be thrown off track. In such a scenario, customers need to ensure that their device is upgraded, such that it offers VoLTE support. T-Mobile claims that presently, all of its sold devices contain the VoLTE feature.
From January 2021 onwards, any device on the T-Mobile network that does not have the VoLTE feature would be refrained from using the network’s 4G LTE or 5G network. Any T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile (previously known as MetroPCS) customers who activate any of the non-VoLTE devices before August 4th would be intimidated by T-Mobile via an e-mail stating they would be unable to use their devices on the network from January 2021.
When contacted, T-Mobile did not give any solid confirmation regarding the timelines mentioned in their internal notice. However, they did issue the following statement to Android Police with regards to the same:
We’re making great progress building a truly transformative nationwide 5G network. As part of that, we will be phasing out some older technologies over time to free up even more capacity for LTE and 5G. In preparation for that and to give customers the best experience, those activating new lines at T-Mobile will need a VoLTE capable device, which is all we’ve offered for years now and represents the overwhelming majority of devices on the network.Source
As far as sending an intimation to customers is concerned, let us hope that T-Mobile does not scare its customers in a manner done by AT&T. Just a day before, AT&T customers were taken aback when they received a notification e-mail from the company stating that they needed to update their devices. The point to be noted here is that the mail heading itself was made quite catchy with which stated: UPDATE NEEDED. The mail further stated that as their phones no longer support the new network, they would need to be changed accordingly so that they are not deprived of their services. Some customers even went to the extent of believing that the whole mail was some fake message doing rounds.
However, the fact is that these customers would not have to change their devices before February 2022- a very important aspect that AT&T chose to ignore and not let their customers know the same. It is around this time that the firm plans on doing away with its 3G network and that is when some of the devices would no longer work. Let us hope T-Mobile chooses a better way to let its customers know what they should be doing and when exactly the devices need to be upgraded.
Verizon to do away with its 3G network?
Verizon is also on the verge of doing away with its 3G network. Sometime in 2019, it had stated that the 3G network shutdown process would be pushed towards the end of 2020. However, from 2018 itself, phones that do not offer LTE support are not activated on the Verizon network.