T-Mobile said Wednesday that the shutdown of Sprint’s 3G network is proceeding as planned, beginning March 31. As part of the shutdown process, the company said in an emailed statement: The edgeit will migrate customers over the next 60 days “to ensure they are supported and not left without connectivity, and the network will be completely shut down by May 31.”
Earlier reports suggested the actual closing date was pushed back to May 31, which would have been the second delay; Originally, T-Mobile was supposed to phase out the network in January, but in October, T-Mobile said it would extend the deadline to March 31.
As one of the terms of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, which closed in 2020, Dish acquired Boost Mobile in July 2020 with the goal of Dish replacing Sprint as a fourth wireless carrier in the US. After T-Mobile announced it plans to shut down Sprint’s CDMA network, the two companies faced some back and forth criticism; Dish chairman Charlie Ergen compared T-Mobile to the Grinch; T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert wrote in a blog post that Dish was “dragging their feet to let their customers upgrade to the superior 4G/5G world.”
At stake is the impact the shutdown will have on Dish’s Boost Mobile customers. The Justice Department told Dish Network and T-Mobile in a July 2021 letter that it had “grave concerns” about the shutdown of Sprint’s legacy network and urged the companies to take “all appropriate steps” to the effect on customers who are dependent on the network.
When it announced the delay to the end of March, T-Mobile released a statement saying that its “partners” had failed to fulfill their “responsibility to help their customers through this shift” and that it was “acting” on customers. On behalf of. That seemed like a thinly veiled reference to Dish Network, whose executive VP of External Legislative Affairs Jeff Blum told The edge when COVID-related issues and supply chain shortages had delayed customer upgrades. He said the March delay was an acknowledgment from T-Mobile that shutting down the CDMA network could negatively impact consumers who rely on it.
Update March 30, 2:33 PM ET: Clarified that the shutdown will begin on March 31 and will be completely shut down on May 31.