T-Mobile is shutting down 3G next summer to make way for better 5G

T-Mobile storefront
T-Mobile storefront (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • T-Mobile has revealed that its 3G network will shut down on July 1, 2022.
  • All affected users have been notified or will be notified before the shutdown.
  • T-Mobile is using this spectrum to strengthen its 5G network, which offers much greater speeds and improved services.

The T-Mobile Network Evolution support page has been updated with the specific date that the T-Mobile 3G network will shut down. The 3G network will be retired on July 1, 2022. This is just a day after Sprint's LTE network will be retired on June 30, 2022. Sprint's CDMA 3G network is also set to retire on January 1, 2022.

T-Mobile notes that it began notifying people affected by this change beginning last year, including its partners like prepaid carriers. If you're still using a device that doesn't support at least T-Mobile's LTE network, you will need to upgrade your device before next summer. Customers will be given the option to upgrade with free options available, though, if you keep your phone for this long, you should also check out the best Android phones as well.

T-Mobile justifies this move by pointing out that its newer networks are between 100 to 300 times faster. LTE and 5G also improve public safety with more accurate 911 location information.

When it comes down to it, it makes a lot of sense for T-Mobile to retire its older networks as well as redundant networks like Sprint LTE. Carriers must use the limited wireless spectrum available to them to deliver as much coverage and capacity as possible, and 3G just isn't as efficient as LTE or 5G. Not to mention that most people aren't even using devices with 3G anymore.

T-Mobile has a good lead with its 5G network thanks to the spectrum it already had as well as the mid-band spectrum from the retired Sprint 5G network. T-Mobile has used its network capacity to create some of the best cell phone plans you can get with unlimited premium data and plenty of hotspot data. To keep adding capacity, spectrum needs to be added to the 5G network, and one of the best places to get spectrum is 3G.

Samuel Contreras

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.