Post Merge: How Sprint Customers can Connect to T-Mobile's Network

  • Published on:  5/20/2020
  • With the merger complete, there's only one change Sprint customers will see right now. If you ever roam outside of the Sprint's LTE network, you'll automatically connect to T-Mobile's network PLUS with a compatible phone you'll be able to connect to T-Mobile's 5G Network.

    After years of snafus, negotiations, and contracts, Sprint and T-Mobile are finally merged! This is a great thing for Sprint because their coverage lacks, but some people aren’t so sure if it will be great for the industry and consumers. Less competition often leads to higher prices of goods and services… So what does this merger mean for you and the industry as a whole? And how soon will consumers benefit (or not) from this giant merger? Sooner than you might think.

    Here’s a quick history of the merger:
    After a few years, and few failed attempts at merging, in April of 2020 T-Mobile officially acquired Sprint. Part of this merger requires Sprint to sell Boost mobile, (Sprint’s prepaid cellular service) along with their 800MHz spectrum to Dish, and requires T-Mobile to share its network with Dish for 7 years while Dish builds up their own network to become the fourth major carrier in America. With Sprint’s 800MHz spectrum, along with other mobile radio waves they’ve been buying up over time, this will *hopefully allow Dish to create a 5G network building some healthy competition in the mobile world within the upcoming decade.

    But that’s 7-10 years from now… what’s happening right now? Well, Not much. The ONLY thing Sprint customers will notice is, in a few weeks if you roam outside of Sprint LTE coverage in the United States, you might connect to T-Mobile’s network. This will only happen if your phone is LTE compatible with both networks. And Sprint customers who have the Samsung S20 Ultra will have full access to T-Mobile’s 5G network. The opposite is NOT the same. T-Mobile customers will not connect to Sprint’s network at any time. However, this is where it gets a little confusing, part of the of the 5G network T-Mobile and Sprint customers can connect to is from Sprint, but is now running through the new T-Mobile network.
    Now for the most part, Sprint and T-Mobile are still effectively two separate companies and will operate that way for a few years. T-Mobile estimates it will take around 3 years for the transition to be totally complete and have the Sprint migration finalized.

    In these upcoming three years, T-Mobile has promised not to raise prices. In fact to combat the worry of increasing plan prices, T-Mobile has created two new budget friendly plans that rival some of the best smaller carrier and MVNO options. You can learn more about those in this video (point to either corner toward to the “i” where i’ll link to the video with a card)

    After the three years has passed, it’s hard to guess what the mobile landscape will look like, and how pricing might change across ALL carriers. But we do know a few things... at least we know what T-Mobile has promised in terms of coverage…
    By 2026 T-Mobile promises 14x the network capacity it has now. What does that mean? Well one thing a larger capacity allows is less people experiencing de-prioritized data. Like adding more lanes of traffic to a freeway, more capacity will allow for a better mobile experience with less congestion.

    T-Mobile also promises by 2026 their 5G network will be available to 99% of Americans. And they’re also promising their network will be 15x times faster than it is now. According to Open Signal who tests dozens of aspects of cell phone carrier service, and has looked at 5-billion user sessions found the average T-Mobile download speed is about 26Mbps. Multiply that by 15 and T-Mobile would be pushing nearly 400Mbps speeds! Honestly 400Mbps seems like overkill for a mobile phone, but when that becomes reality, i’ll want to experience it.

    Now lastly, this is just a guess, but i imagine the new T-Mobile will offer Sprint customers killer deals for upgrading their cell phones. Why? Because if your phone is too old, it won’t work on BOTH networks because Sprint’s network is CDMA where T-Mobile’s is GSM… these are two different types of technology and older phones don’t have the sophistication to work on both. For the new T-Mobile to keep customers happy and make good on these large capacity and speed promises, they’re going to need to make it as easy as possible for current customers to get the most bang for their buck, or risk losing them to competitors. At this moment, there is only a handful of phones that work with T-Mobile/Sprint and can access 5G. But in a few years, that list is very likely going to grow.

    What do you think of the Sprint/T-Mobile merger? Let me know in the comments.