On April 1 this year, T-Mobile finalized its acquisition of rival carrier Sprint. The Un-carrier called it a merger, but that's not quite the case, as the firm is shutting down Sprint's 5G network, for Sprint's phones at least.
Getting the axe is Sprint's 2.5GHz spectrum, and T-Mobile is shutting it down so it can light it up for T-Mobile customers. In fact, T-Mobile started lighting up 2.5GHz for its own customers the same day that the acquisition was completed, in Philadelphia. Since then, it's expanded to even more cities.
"We are working to quickly re-deploy, optimize and test the 2.5 GHz spectrum before lighting it up on the T-Mobile network. In the meantime, legacy Sprint customers with compatible devices can enjoy T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network," a T-Mobile spokesperson said in a statement to Fierce Wireless.
And when T-Mobile says "compatible devices", there's only one. It's the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G that gets to enjoy the carrier's 600MHz spectrum. If you bought a Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, or OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, you'll be using those as 4G LTE devices from now on. According to the report citing BayStreet Research, that should affect about 75,000 users.
The good news is that T-Mobile has some upgrade deals in place for Sprint customers. If you lease or finance a OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, a Galaxy S10 5G, or V50 ThinQ 5G and you're paying more than $10 a month, you can get a Galaxy S20 5G for $10 a month with a $31.67 a month credit on an 18-month lease. If you're paying less than $10 a month, you can get the S20 5G for $0 a month for a $41.67 a month credit on an 18-month lease.