T-Mobile has been moving to integrate Sprint into its operations since completing its merger last April. This week the next step was detailed, with a support page on the carrier's website revealing that T-Mobile plans to shut down Sprint's 4G LTE network on June 30, 2022.
The page, spotted by Light Reading, details a bit about why it is doing this. The company says that "retiring older network technologies" allow it "to free up resources and spectrum that will help us strengthen our entire network, move all customers to more advanced technologies and bridge the Digital Divide." Part of this process, the post continues, "involves moving Sprint's LTE spectrum to the T-Mobile network."
T-Mobile says that "most" Sprint LTE and 5G devices can work with its LTE or 5G network. It adds that those devices "will continue to operate on T-Mobile's LTE and 5G networks," so long as those Sprint users upgrade from Sprint-issued SIM cards to ones from T-Mobile. You will also need to make sure that Voice over LTE (also known as VoLTE) is enabled for voice calls.
The carrier adds that it will be contacting those who might be impacted by the switch, stating that it already "began sending notifications late last year."
T-Mobile has been working to move Sprint users and devices onto its network since the merger was finalized, announcing last month that "80% of Sprint customer traffic" is now carried on its network with "one-third" of Sprint customers having already been moved to T-Mobile.
Shuttering Sprint's 4G LTE network is the latest shutdown for T-Mobile. Last July the carrier turned off Sprint's 5G network to bolster its own 5G offering while it has more recently announced that plans to shutter Sprint's older 3G CDMA network on Jan. 1, 2022.
Dish, which purchased the Boost Mobile prepaid brand from T-Mobile as part of a Department of Justice requirement for the Sprint merger, has spoken out against the 3G network shutdown as Boost users still have devices that connect to the former Sprint network. T-Mobile has countered by saying that it notified Dish about these plans in October 2020, well ahead of the six months notice it was required to give by contract.
As part of a DOJ-brokered deal, Dish was granted the ability to use T-Mobile's network for seven years while it builds out its own 5G network. The satellite TV company recently announced a partnership with AT&T to use its network as its relationship with T-Mobile turned sour.
It is unclear how this latest move might impact Dish or Boost. Stephen Stokols, executive vice president of Boost Mobile, told CNET that his company was "still doing some analysis" on the announcement but did not elaborate further.