Over the past several years, T-Mobile has made a concerted effort to improve our customer experience through the deployment of broader coverage and advanced technologies. The result is subscribers now get exceptional reception where they work and play every day. Our network is stronger and better than ever, including exciting advances in our ever expanding 5G footprint.

In order for our customers to take advantage of these improvements, they need to be using the right devices. Many older devices don’t have the required hardware and/or software necessary to utilize LTE or newer 5G technology for calls and streaming data.

As such, the UMTS/3G network (Bands 2/4/66) will be phased out on January 1, 2021.

In an effort to ensure the best possible experience on our network going forward, we are planning to implement a Device Registration Block to the UTMS Core beginning June 1, 2020 for all UMTS devices attempting to activate a new account on the network. This process will ensure we drive towards our mutual goal of moving the maximum number of customers away from the UMTS network before the service becomes unusable.

It’s important to note all Devices may continue to utilize the UMTS network until January 1, 2021. but the above step is important to ensure that we wind down this population before we get to this point.

UMTS Registration Blocking will prevent the registration to the UMTS Core by devices coming onto the network after June 1. This will be true of ALL new registrations for ALL devices. Specifically, Non-LTE phones won’t be able to make calls nor use data and VoLTE capable phones won’t be able to ‘fall back’ to UMTS for calls or data – this means “LTE Leakage” nor “VoLTE Leakage” will be possible for those phones coming onto the network after that date. Existing IoT devices may continue to fall back on our 2G network, if available.

The Registration Block Timeline is as follows:

6/1/20 – UMTS Registration Blocking begins

UMTS devices that have not been previously active on the network can NOT connect to the UMTS core network after June 1, 2020. Devices activated before June 1, 2020 may continue to use the UMTS network until January 1, 2021.

1/1/21 – UMTS Network is phased out

No devices will be able to use the UMTS network. IoT devices may continue to fall back on our 2G network, if available.

Here are suggestions to mitigate risk now and avoid any service interruption:

  1. Deadlines: Pay strict attention and adhere to the above deadlines, planning accordingly with your affected teams.
  2. Know the devices in your customer base: Ensure you know the trending of incorrect devices in the base, and how many new users are activating with incorrect devices.
  3. Drive device upgrade execution planning

Updates will be provided on any new information as we receive it. Thank you very much for your attention to this and for continuing to be a valued partner of T-Mobile. Please reach out to me if you have any remaining questions.