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If you use any of these smartphones, you can’t connect to T-Mobile’s network in 2021

Published Dec 26th, 2020 10:39AM EST
T-Mobile phones
Image: Michael Buckner/BGR

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  • T-Mobile revealed in an internal document to employees that 19 devices will no longer be able to connect to its network starting on January 29th, 2021.
  • Some of the affected devices include the Galaxy Note 4, Nexus 9, Huawei Mate 8, and Xperia Z3.
  • T-Mobile will send out a text message to affected customers on December 28th, 2020.

As often as we write about new and unreleased phones, we’re aware that not everyone gets a new phone every year, or even every two years. Some people ride their old smartphones until they will not turn on, but eventually, everyone’s forced to upgrade. That might be the case for select T-Mobile subscribers in 2021, as Android Police obtained internal documents this week detailing 19 devices that will stop connecting to the carrier’s network in January.

According to the documents, old phones, tablets, cameras, and more will be impacted by this change. T-Mobile began notifying affected customers by mail on December 18th, and then will send SMS text messages on December 28th to those who have phones that will no longer connect to the network.

This is the full list of devices that will stop connecting to T-Mobile’s network on January 29th, 2021:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (AT&T)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (Verizon)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
  • HTC Desire 10 Lifestyle
  • HTC Desire 650
  • Google Nexus 9
  • Huawei Mate 8
  • Huawei P9
  • Mikrotikls 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

A majority of the phones on this list are from 2015 or earlier, and as impressive as it is that anyone managed to keep any of these phones as their daily driver for half a decade, it is probably not very safe to be using them anyway since they all stopped receiving updates years ago. If for no other reason, anyone using these devices should upgrade just for the sake of security patches that could keep their private data safe from bad actors.

That said, if you’ve held out this long, it might be worth waiting another week or two before you upgrade as one page of the document tells T-Mobile workers to “stay tuned for additional offers that will be specifically targeted to impacted customers.” No offers have been made public yet, but if T-Mobile is going to provide subscribers with an incentive to stay on the network, it will presumably happen before the January 29th shut-off date.

As for an explanation, Android Police assumed that it might have something to do with T-Mobile’s “requirement for all devices to be VoLTE capable to connect to our network” starting January 2021, but T-Mobile says that this is not the case. It turns out that this is indeed the case, but there’s some good news, too: Affected customers will receive a new device for free. According to the report, choices will include the Samsung Galaxy A21, Galaxy A11, Alcatel GO FLIP 3, and T-Mobile REVVL 4.

Finally, it’s worth noting that this will impact Metro and Sprint customers as well.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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