We learned this week that T-Mobile has begun merging Sprint’s network with its own, with 2.5GHz 5G going live in Philadelphia and launching soon in New York City soon. As T-Mobile refarms Sprint’s 2.5GHz 5G to use for its own network, customers with Sprint’s older 5G phones from 2019 will lose 5G access, but T-Mobile is planning offers to help those people move to a new 5G phone.
Sprint customers affected by this change will have the chance to get a discount on a Samsung Galaxy S20 at a discounted price. T-Mobile explained to CNET that the exact deal a customer gets will depend on how much they’re paying per month for their current Sprint 5G phone:
T-Mobile had planned to allow Sprint’s Galaxy S10 5G to work with T-Mo’s mmWave 5G network while its S10 5G would work with the refarmed Sprint mid-band spectrum. However, CNET notes that the S10 5G can’t use the LTE anchor band for 2.5GHz 5G that T-Mobile is using, a band combination that’s different from what Sprint has used, and that this combo is needed so Sprint customers on mid-band spectrum LTE won’t be affected by the change.
These older Sprint 5G devices also lack the ability to connect to T-Mobile’s 600MHz 5G network.
Those phones will still have 4G LTE support, but some owners might be frustrated that they bought a 5G device that ended up losing the ability to connect to a 5G network due to the merger. T-Mobile is planning to contact the people who bought Sprint 5G phones and tell them that they’ll need a new device to use 5G, so they shouldn’t end up unable to connect to 5G and be left wondering what happened.