T-Mobile has completely shut down Sprint’s 2.5GHz midband 5G network as the company continues its efforts to merge Sprint’s network using its own following the landmark merger of the two companies earlier in the day this year, via Fierce Wireless.
The shutdown marks the end of an activity T-Mobile began earlier in 2010 when it started merging Sprint’s 5G spectrum holdings into its existing network, which began when T-Mobile shut down Sprint’s existing 5G deployment in New York and relaunched it as element of T-Mobile’s 5G network in April. T-Mobile also launched a new 2.5GHz 5G network in Philadelphia in those days, a city where Sprint had not yet offered 5G.
T-Mobile also announced on Tuesday that Sprint’s networks in Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles have been completely reactivated as T-Mobile spectrum, too. Still yet to be redeployed are Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City, Phoenix, and Washington, DC, which previously had Sprint 5G networks.
The integration of the Sprint midband spectrum is a key part of T-Mobile’s 5G strategy, which aims to combine low-band 600MHz spectrum for broad, nationwide 5G coverage with faster but lower-range midband (Sprint’s 2.5GHz network) and short-range mmWave networks for a balance of coverage and speed.
Sprint’s 5G network shutdown will leave owners of early Sprint 5G phones that use older Qualcomm X50 modems — including the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, Galaxy S10 5G, and LG V50 ThinQ 5G — in the lurch, as their phones aren’t new enough to connect to the T-Mobile network. T-Mobile is reportedly offering those clients replacement offers (which vary depending on the device and payment plan specifics).
Newer devices that feature Qualcomm’s X55 modem, like the Galaxy S20 5G lineup, it’s still able to access the 2.5GHz networks if they relaunch as part of T-Mobile’s setup (along with the rest of T-Mobile’s low-band and mmWave 5G spectrum).