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Thread: Non-VoLTE Devices on T-Mobile after 01/01/2021 (still OK, but only for 2G/3G)

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    Non-VoLTE Devices on T-Mobile after 01/01/2021 (still OK, but only for 2G/3G)

    I got response from T-Mobile T-Force regarding non-VoLTE devices after 01/01/2021:

    Question:


    Hi,

    "Leaked memo" from July 2020 mentions 3G shutdown as following:
    "T-Mobile will require all devices connecting to our nationwide 4G LTE and 5G network to be VoLTE capable."

    I have few questions:

    1. I have non-VoLTE phone with T-Mobile SIM that used only for data (GPS). Will I be able still to use it (to whitelist IMEI)?

    2. I have foreign SIM that roams on T-Mobile, but VoLTE roaming is not implemented by foreign operator. Will I be able to use it for voice/text on 2G/3G (without connection to LTE)?

    3. Same question for domestic SIM: I have Lycamobile (TMobile MVNO) SIM that inserted into 3G phone (no LTE/VoLTE) that used as backup phone. Will I be able to use it after 1/1/2021?

    Thank you
    T-Force response:

    Hello and thanks for reaching out to T-Force. <Name of T-Force representative> here, we want to make sure that we set the proper expectations at all times.

    Your phone will continue to work on the network however, it is accessing older technologies and as a result they are not getting the best connectivity experience our network has to offer.

    We haven’t shared timing for when we'll phase out older technologies but rest assured that our customers will be notified in advance before you would be impacted by this change.
    It means following:

    1. You still can use non-VoLTE devices after 01/01/2021 but they will be able to connect only to 2G/3G network. No LTE connectivity.
    2. Your grandma flip phone is still OK. It does not have LTE anyway.
    3. Your unlocked AT&T or world phone without 3G Band 4 (1700 MHz) will not be able to connect to internet because T-Mobile's 2G internet is unusable (too slow or even does not exist in some areas). You still will be able to use your phone for calls and text using T-Mobile 2G network.
    4. T-Force did not answer my 1st question (regarding whitelisting of phones that used for data only). It means you will not be able to whitelist non-VoLTE IMEI for LTE by contacting customer service.

    Another point: T-Mobile IMEI checker is not reliable. For example, it lists Moto E4 of Verizon and AT&T as VoLTE compatible but they are not. Errors in opposite directions are possible too. Check you phones now before it is too late and raise ticket if the phone is marked as non-VoLTE by mistake.

    https://www.t-mobile.com/resources/bring-your-own-phone

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    Yeah, again, I'm not going to take customer service's word as gospel here. They're regularly misinformed, and aren't involved in network shutdown decisions.

    The part that I do agree with is that I do expect them to warn people or make some kind of announcement once they're ready. My guess is that this internal document leaked before they were ready to make an announcement. It did say that impacted customers should be getting text messages with more information "in the near future". Let's wait until that happens so we get more information.

    When the company (not a customer service rep) or Neville Ray makes an official statement about it, I'll listen.

    The leaked document is too inconsistent, poorly worded, and unclear. I'm going to wait for more clarification from the company officially. A customer service rep saying something is not confirmation of anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcspidey4 View Post

    When the company (not a customer service rep) or Neville Ray makes an official statement about it, I'll listen.

    The leaked document is too inconsistent, poorly worded, and unclear. I'm going to wait for more clarification from the company officially. A customer service rep saying something is not confirmation of anything.
    I agree with you here. We should wait for official announcement. The only semi-official response (from T-Force) for now is that non-VoLTE devices will not be able to access LTE after 12/31/2020 and everybody who has such device should plan accordingly. For example, I have to buy new device for GPS in my car because T-Mobile 2G/3G internet in my area sucks. Everything else is just speculations using unreliable and unconfirmed sources.

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    For what it's worth, Ting employees said they heard directly from T-Mobile that 2G and 3G would be gone in January.

    That's Ting's official position:

    https://ting.com/blog/3g-shutdown-and-volte/

    Also, a Simple Mobile customer reported that they got a text message warning them that their device would stop working in January:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/com..._on_t_network/

    The link in the text (now dead) apparently also said January 2021.

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    I e-mailed Neville Ray to get clarification. He and his team have responded to me before, so we'll see.

    But if it's something they aren't ready to announce yet, I'm not really expecting a response.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcspidey4 View Post
    For what it's worth, Ting employees said they heard directly from T-Mobile that 2G and 3G would be gone in January.

    That's Ting's official position:

    https://ting.com/blog/3g-shutdown-and-volte/

    Also, a Simple Mobile customer reported that they got a text message warning them that their device would stop working in January:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/com..._on_t_network/

    The link in the text (now dead) apparently also said January 2021.

    Ting blog is very old and was also based on unconfirmed 2G shutdown rumors with cut off date of 12/31/2020. Even in this cases it refers only to 2G shutdown:

    As for 2G, that technology has gone the way of the dodo on all networks except T-Mobile, which will be shutting it off at the end of 2020. That’s why we’ll mostly focus on 3G.
    and does not mention 3G shutdown.

    SimpleMobile issue is not related to 2G/3G shutdown:

    I'm currently sitting on Simple Mobile (which piggybacks of t network) and yesterday received txt message last day of January 2021 is a final date. Today they send me email saying I need to upgrade to a VoLTE-ready SIM Card right away (9/7/2020) I understand this is not simple mobile sub but just thought maybe somebody has some quick answer before I try to assault forest of menu options on support line :>
    The message:

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    And the email:

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    They say that you need VoLTE compatible SIM because as far as I understand, some old SIM cards do not support VoLTE or T-Mobile added additional VoLTE related firmware to its new SIMs (yes, SIM cards are running special firmware). They are not talking about phone replacement.

    You should remember, that MVNOs logic is different than T-Mobile logic. They have less capacity to deal with network issues and they want to replace all non-VoLTE phones and SIMs as soon as possible. They are not going to wait until deadline. If they get flood of complains "I can not connect to LTE", they are in big trouble.

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    He mentioned that when he clicked the link, it took him to a page that mentioned that 2G/3G would be gone in January.

    I'm going to wait for an actual announcement, not speculate with no information.

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    I guess we'll see Jan 1. 2021? To be honest, I'm expecting the intent is to shut it all down Jan 1. 2021 (more or less, just like past shutdowns there'll probably be areas where it drags a few weeks.) But, we won't know what T-Mo does until the time comes I guess; I've been kind of wondering the same about VZW, are they really going to bother to kick devices off CDMA at end of year either when they are keeping minimal CDMA up until the end of 2022 for some "enterprise" customers (apparently alarm systems mainly) anyway?

    Something to bring up -- IWireless was about 40-50% 2G in 2018 when T-Mobile bought them, originally planning for it to take like 2 or 3 months to integrate everything. IWireless was far more antiquated than they expected, it actually took until mid-2019 for these areas to be all upgraded to 4G; it's got to be close to a speed record to go in like a year and a half years from 2G-only coverage to (if it happens) having 2G totally retired. That said, it's not like IWireless made a point of finding antique phones to sell so I'm assuming near-100% of the phones actually on their network are VoLTE-compatible anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwertz View Post
    I've been kind of wondering the same about VZW, are they really going to bother to kick devices off CDMA at end of year either when they are keeping minimal CDMA up until the end of 2022 for some "enterprise" customers (apparently alarm systems mainly) anyway?
    Do you have a source about Verizon keeping CDMA running until 2023?

    My understanding was that Verizon has already disabled 1x data. It's still active for voice/text, but 1x data stopped working a few years ago. Does that mean they're keeping EVDO running until 2023 also? That would surprise me, since they want to use that spectrum for LTE/5G.

    T-Mobile could keep 2G running for a while in the guard bands, but it would become overloaded if they let phones connect to it. Their current GSM setup only allows for 8 simultaneous GSM connections per site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcspidey4 View Post
    Do you have a source about Verizon keeping CDMA running until 2023?

    My understanding was that Verizon has already disabled 1x data. It's still active for voice/text, but 1x data stopped working a few years ago. Does that mean they're keeping EVDO running until 2023 also? That would surprise me, since they want to use that spectrum for LTE/5G.

    T-Mobile could keep 2G running for a while in the guard bands, but it would become overloaded if they let phones connect to it. Their current GSM setup only allows for 8 simultaneous GSM connections per site.
    I'd like to know this as well because according to Wikipedia, refarming should be done by years end.
    I included a screenshot and also feel the need to report this thread to mods because its the same thread they just closed down last night, only started by someone who apparently thinks theres enough spectrum to go around to keep 2G/3G on forever.

    (Which isn't the case if I'm having to constantly re-scan my over the air TV because they have to give up some spectrum for cell services.)
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    Drako Swiftclaw

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFK View Post
    I got response from T-Mobile T-Force regarding non-VoLTE devices after 01/01/2021:
    Another point: T-Mobile IMEI checker is not reliable. For example, it lists Moto E4 of Verizon and AT&T as VoLTE compatible but they are not. Errors in opposite directions are possible too. Check you phones now before it is too late and raise ticket if the phone is marked as non-VoLTE by mistake.
    https://www.t-mobile.com/resources/bring-your-own-phone
    As an OWNER of the Sprint Moto e4, I can say for a FACT that it DOES support VoLTE.
    (As do the ones on Verizon since the e4 is currently being SOLD by Verizon MVNO's with VoLTE-HD Voce Provisioned and turned on.)
    https://www.verizon.com/smartphones/.../#specsHeading
    https://bestcellular.com/product/motorola-moto-e4/

    I have confirmed this not only with IMEI checkers, Google Searches, Phone Specs, and several apps on my own device that tells me it does support it, but it is not provisioned on Sprint. (Not to mention that my phone has an area within the settings to indicate my IMS System registration, which would enable VoLTE - and the hidden menus on my own phone has the VoLTE Provisioned Option Available. But since Sprint does not have IMS running in Seattle, when I tick it on, registration fails and it turns itself back off.)

    (The Google search is where I first started reading of actual customers on Reddit using VoLTE on the e4 on Verizon along with similar updates on some e4 Models that got ROAMAHOME from T-Mobile/Sprint.)

    This is taking into account there have been reports of Sprint enforcing VoLTE capable phones for activation on their network for at least a year now. They just did so quietly since their IMEI checkers already required all devices to be Sprint Certified.

    Sure it's an old as dirt phone, but this only shows how long VoLTE support has been mostly a standard in devices. (Mid 2017 to early 2018)
    Last edited by jmac32here; 08-31-2020 at 06:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwertz View Post
    I guess we'll see Jan 1. 2021? To be honest, I'm expecting the intent is to shut it all down Jan 1. 2021 (more or less, just like past shutdowns there'll probably be areas where it drags a few weeks.) But, we won't know what T-Mo does until the time comes I guess; I've been kind of wondering the same about VZW, are they really going to bother to kick devices off CDMA at end of year either when they are keeping minimal CDMA up until the end of 2022 for some "enterprise" customers (apparently alarm systems mainly) anyway?

    Something to bring up -- IWireless was about 40-50% 2G in 2018 when T-Mobile bought them, originally planning for it to take like 2 or 3 months to integrate everything. IWireless was far more antiquated than they expected, it actually took until mid-2019 for these areas to be all upgraded to 4G; it's got to be close to a speed record to go in like a year and a half years from 2G-only coverage to (if it happens) having 2G totally retired. That said, it's not like IWireless made a point of finding antique phones to sell so I'm assuming near-100% of the phones actually on their network are VoLTE-compatible anyway.
    I would expect a shut down too, considering most major network shutdowns have historically began in January.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmac32here View Post
    I would expect a shut down too, considering most major network shutdowns have historically began in January.
    Except for 1G/AMPS/analog. For some reason, the FCC decided all the way back in 2002 that February 18, 2008 was a good day to shut down analog

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcspidey4 View Post
    Except for 1G/AMPS/analog. For some reason, the FCC decided all the way back in 2002 that February 18, 2008 was a good day to shut down analog
    2008 was a weird year tho for anything wireless. Pretty sure the early start was to help push along thing like the DTV transition too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmac32here View Post

    Sure it's an old as dirt phone, but this only shows how long VoLTE support has been mostly a standard in devices. (Mid 2017 to early 2018)
    I’d say 2014 with the iPhone 6.

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