Do you remember when AT&T informed customers that their phones would no longer work and encouraged them to buy new ones during a pandemic? T-Mobile is also reported to be sending such messages, but it appears that the company could do it a little differently (and hopefully less aggressively) than AT&T, according to an obvious internal document from T-Mobile by Android Police.
As of January 2021, T-Mobile will reportedly need phones on its network to support Voice over LTE (VoLTE). If your phone does not currently support VoLTE, you will need to upgrade if you want to continue connecting to this phone on T-Mobile. And T-Mobile is apparently so keen to phase out older technologies that it is reported that on August 4, just a few weeks away, it will stop activating new devices that don't support VoLTE.
Here is the document that Android Police has shared if you want to check it out:
Image: Android Police
When we asked, T-Mobile did not confirm the timeline specified in the document, but did provide some details that are in a row:
(…) We will phase out some older technologies over time to free up even more capacity for LTE and 5G. To prepare for this and offer customers the best possible experience, those who activate new lines at T-Mobile need a VoLTE-enabled device. This is all that we have been offering for years and that represents the vast majority of devices on the network.
Basically, T-Mobile seems to be saying that unless VoLTE is required, you are unlikely to encounter problems unless you haven't updated your phone for a long time.
If T-Mobile has to tell some customers that they need an upgrade, hopefully the company will learn from AT & T's mistakes. Yesterday AT&T scared some customers by sending them an email with the big, blue, bold headline "All-Caps".UPDATE REQUIRED,Let them know that their phone is "incompatible with the new network" and that they need to replace it to continue receiving services. (Some customers found the email so outrageous that they thought it was a scam.)
However, what AT&T failed to make clear is that these customers won't have to update their phone until early 2022 – then AT&T plans to shut down its 3G network and when some devices actually stop working. Let us hope that T-Mobile is clearer about what customers have to do and when they have to do it.
Verizon is also in the process of shutting down its 3G network, and said last year it would delay this shutdown until late 2020. As of 2018, phones that do not support LTE will no longer be activated.