T-Mobile Postpones April’s 2G Network Shutdown





T-Mobile has once again delayed its 2G network shutdown, giving any stragglers who have yet to upgrade their service more time to jump on the 5G bandwagon.

The 2G network was scheduled to retire on April 2. The company hasn’t released a new shutdown date yet, but this serves as a reminder to anyone who still uses 2G to upgrade before the network shuts down completely.

T-Mobile updated its Network Evolution page to say that while the 2G network is still operating, some customers may lose coverage before others.

“While we have not yet established an exact date, we will notify you in advance when we plan to retire T-Mobile’s older 2G network. Please be aware that as we work towards this retirement, capacity and coverage of the T-Mobile 2G network will change as some 2G sites will come down prior to the full network retirement.”

T-Mobile needs to shut down the network because it plans to take the radio airwaves devoted to 2G and repurpose them for 5G. Because spectrum is such a limited resource, carriers are always looking for more to enhance the capabilities of their latest networks.

Most customers have already upgraded to at least a 4G network. Statistica says 2% of customers still rely on the 2G network, down from 12% in 2015. T-Mobile alerted customers last October it would begin shutting down the 2G network this year and offered incentives, discounts, and free devices to entice people to switch.

However, 2G isn’t just used by the average consumer. ATMs or touch-screen self-service kiosks like RedBox require an internet connection to function. Many of these were installed before 3G launched, and replacing all these devices is a hard financial hit for many companies. There are 451,000 ATMs in the U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal, which won’t work without a 2G network. They don’t have the components and chips necessary to connect to the 4G or 5G networks. Essentially, if 2G shuts down, so does any device that relies on that network.

Customers still using 2G would experience data download failures and dropped calls, including 911.

T-Mobile notified customers in 2021 that 2G coverage will wind down. The Un-carrier waived fees and taxes for those who upgraded, as well as SIM and device connectivity charges. In June 2022, T-Mobile shut down Sprint’s LTE network, and its 3G network in July.

The delayed shutdown timeline isn’t to say any remaining 2G customers will get to keep their coverage. T-Mobile said customers would be notified in advance, but coverage would change ahead of the complete retirement of the network.

For anyone concerned about losing coverage, the company said, “Rest assured that if you’re affected, T-Mobile will contact you.”

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