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T-Mobile to offer free upgrades to some with older phones

The deal comes as T-Mobile starts to retire its older 3G network.

The deal comes as T-Mobile starts to retire its older 3G network.

T-Mobile will start sending text messages this week to some customers with old devices that are expected to lose access to the wireless company’s network next month.

The service disruption comes as T-Mobile sunsets its older 3G network in favor of its faster, better-equipped 4G LTE and 5G networks.

As part of the switch, T-Mobile will drop support for some older phones that aren’t supported by their manufacturers. The move affects all T-Mobile customers as well as customers of T-Mobile’s prepaid service Metro by T-Mobile (formerly MetroPCS).

Support documents obtained by the website Android Police identified a handful of devices that were once supported by T-Mobile or rival companies that will stop working toward the end of next month. Those devices include:

  • Google Nexus 9
  • HTC Desire 10 Lifestyle
  • HTC Desire 650
  • Huawei Mate 9
  • Huawei P9
  • OnePlus 1
  • Quanta Dragn IR7
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (AT&T and Verizon versions only)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Duos
  • Sony Xperia Z3
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Orion
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Orion (D6616 Model)
  • Soyea M02
  • ZTE ZMax

In addition to those phones, the Netgear Arlo Security Camera System and Mikrotik R11e LTE6 devices will also no longer be supported on T-Mobile’s network.

Though the devices aren’t able to receive manufacturer’s updates, the move is also likely due to T-Mobile’s decision to move customers over to its 4G LTE network for voice calls using a feature called voice over LTE, or VoLTE. A similar plan impacts Sprint customers with older, CDMA-only devices. T-Mobile acquired Sprint earlier this year.

Affected customers began receiving notices in the mail earlier this month and will be notified by text message starting Monday.

As part of the move, T-Mobile is expected to offer affected customers the option of upgrading to a new device for free. A limited number of new phones will be offered as part of the promotion, including:

  • Alcatel Go Flip 3 ($100)
  • Samsung Galaxy A21 ($250)
  • Samsung Galaxy A11 ($180)
  • T-Mobile REVVL 4 ($120)

Customers with older, non-supported devices have until January 29 to take advantage of the upgrade offer or purchase a different phone that T-Mobile supports.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is an award-winning journalist with more than 10 years of experience covering the business of television and radio broadcasting, streaming services and the overall media industry. In addition to his work as publisher of The Desk, Matthew contributes regularly to StreamTV Insider and KnowTechie, and has worked for several well-known news organizations, including Thomson Reuters, McNaughton Newspapers, Grasswire, Comstock's magazine, KTXL-TV and KGO-TV. Matthew is a member of IRE, a trade organization for investigative reporters and editors, and is based in Northern California.

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