T-Mobile is turning off the service of these phones, but will offer free replacements

Based on internal documents from T-Mobile provided to Android police, some older devices, including the OnePlus One, Xperia Z3 series and Nexus 9, will not be able to connect to the company’s network starting Jan. 29. 19 devices, including phones, tablets and even cameras, were named the document. Affected customers will be notified by SMS starting December 28 and will be able to upgrade to one of the four phones for free.

According to the documents sent to us (which we checked as correct), the following devices will not be able to use the T-Mobile network from January 29, after the introduction of the network update:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (model AT&T)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (model Verizon)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
  • HTC Desire 10 Lifestyle
  • HTC Desire 650
  • Google Nexus 9
  • Huawei Mate 8
  • Huawei P9
  • Microcycles SIA_R11e-LTE6
  • Netgear Arlo security camera system
  • OnePlus 1
  • Quanta Dragon IR7
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Duos
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
  • Sony Xperia Z3
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Orion
  • Sony D6616 Xperia Z3 Orion
  • Soyea M02
  • ZTE ZMax

Note that while this affects AT&T and Verizon Note 4, the T-Mobile version of the phone is not. It is also possible that this affects other devices that are not on this list.

Most of the devices left behind by T-Mobile are quite old in terms of smartphones. Most are from 2014-2015, although the Huawei P9 landed in 2016. These are devices that have long since stopped receiving official updates, and even if we exclude this end of mobile operator support, it is in the best interest of these customers to upgrade to something with newer security patches. However, the inclusion of the Arlo security camera and the R11 e-LTE6 is strange, for reasons we will touch on later.

A longer text is linked to the list, explaining that the devices were left behind due to the inability to receive the updates required for continuous functionality on T-Mobile’s network, after the network change. We originally thought this was related to the long-awaited mandatory VoLTE support associated with shutting down T-Mobile’s legacy network, but the company tells us that’s not the case – although the timing and details are still questionable. The change will also affect Metro and Sprint subscribers, and the details there are getting a little blurry.

T-Mobile is required to maintain Sprint’s 3G network for three years as a condition of the merger, and it is assumed that customers with these devices should still be able to connect to that network. The document still claims that this will affect Sprint customers, but a later section states that only those on T-Mobile or Metro by T-Mobile will lose everything network connectivity. Sprint subscribers with affected devices will only lose roaming T-Mobile networks.

The document claims the snail mail letters were sent to those affected by the change, which began on the 18th, and SMS-based notifications will be sent on the 28th of December, giving customers about a month to replace their devices. Some business customers will be forced into an existing promotion with a $ 150 discount, and T-Mobile employees have been told to “stay tuned for additional offers that will be specifically targeted at affected customers.”

Since then, we have confirmed that this promotional offer starts on December 24, and target customers can get a free Samsung Galaxy A21, Samsung Galaxy A11, Alcatel GO FLIP 3 or T-Mobile REVVL 4. Honestly, reaching a value of $ 250 for your phone from half decades is pretty good, and the A21 is a decent phone.

After our story was originally published, T-Mobile approached to confirm that this change is not part of either the VoLTE requirement or any old network shutdown, although the time, obvious requirements, and device list imply a connection. We asked T-Mobile for more details regarding the change that is forcing these devices off the network, but that information was not provided. The company did not accept our offer to publish a statement when asked.

The inclusion of devices like the original Arlo security camera and the R11e-LTE6 mini PCIe card also casts some doubt on the VoLTE requirement as a reason, as neither needs it. Asked how this affects future software support and functionality on T-Mobile’s network, an Arlo representative told us that no official decision has been made to discontinue the product.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile subscribers using any of these 19 devices should be contacted to see if they qualify for the promotional offer. If you are worried about your phone, you can check and verify that your device supports VoLTE with our guide.

Affected customers can get one of these four phones for free

New documents given to Android police tell us that the T-Mobile promotion, available to those with devices on this list, will include the free Samsung Galaxy A21, Samsung Galaxy A11, Alcatel GO FLIP 3 or T-Mobile REVVL 4. The promotion is only available for targeted T-Mobile accounts starting December 24th.

Our coverage has been updated.

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