T-Mobile (opens in new tab) has delayed its planned shutdown of Sprint's 3G network by three months, moving it back until March 31 2022.
The delay is to ensure that its "partners" have time to help customers with the transition and T-Mobile isn't taking any prisoners when attributing blame. In a statement (opens in new tab), the cell phone giant explains that "recently it’s become increasingly clear that some of those partners haven’t followed through on their responsibility to help their customers through this shift, so we're stepping up on their behalf."
No names are mentioned but the general suggestion is that T-Mobile is talking about Dish Network. It's been a messy time for the two companies with T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert previously saying (opens in new tab) that Dish was "dragging their feet in getting their customers upgraded to the superior 4G/5G world."
T-Mobile Sprint conditions
One of the conditions of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger was that Dish acquired Boost Mobile in July 2020 with the aim to take Sprint's place as a fourth wireless carrier in the US. After T-Mobile announced plans to shut down Sprint's CDMA network, Dish chairman Charlie Ergen compared T-Mobile to the Grinch (opens in new tab).
Following the news of the delay to switch off Sprint's 3G network, Dish's executive VP of external and legislative affairs, Jeff Blum, told The Verge (opens in new tab) that T-Mobile’s announcement "is a recognition that its premature shutdown of the CDMA network will harm consumers who rely on this network for critical connectivity, including 911."
He continued to say that the extra time was "not nearly sufficient" and cited that many of the affected Boost customers are low-income households who need more support. He also mentioned that supply chain cellphone shortages slowing down anyone's path to the best smartphones (opens in new tab) along with COVID-related interruptions are not helping.
Time will tell if an extra few months is enough for users. For now, T-Mobile remains one of the best cell phone providers (opens in new tab) out there even if it is clearly quite keen to be snarky at times when it comes to business practices.