Given the rate of turnover in the smartphone market, it is almost expected that consumers change phones every two to three years. It’s definitely unheard of for people to hold on to five-year-old phones that may not even be able to run the latest versions of Android, for example. In that case, very few people might be affected by T-Mobile’s still-unannounced decision to completely cut off some devices from its network but the unexplained reason for that change makes it just as mysterious.
Many people probably expect their phones to at least be able to connect to networks almost forever. In truth, there will be times when devices will no longer be supported, like when a network operator shuts down some unused technology or service. T-Mobile already retired its 2G network and will sunset 3G next year. The devices on this list, however, are mostly capable of connecting to 4G networks anyway.
Android Police got hold of an internal document that lists old devices, some going as far back as 2014, that will no longer be able to connect to T-Mobile networks starting January 29, 2021. Strangely enough, it includes Netgear and Mikrotikls routers.
• Google Nexus 9
• HTC Desire 10 Lifestyle
• HTC Desire 650
• Huawei Mate 8
• Huawei P9
• Mikrotikls SIA_R11e-LTE6
• Netgear Arlo Security Camera System
• OnePlus 1
• Quanta Dragon IR7
• Samsung Galaxy S5 Duos
• Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (AT&T model)
• Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (Verizon model)
• Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
• Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
• Sony Xperia Z3
• Sony Xperia Z3 Orion
• Sony D6616 Xperia Z3 Orion
• Soyea M02
• ZTE ZMax
The move was initially believed to be related to T-Mobile making VoLTE support mandatory but the carrier refuted that theory. There are also some odd exceptions, like the T-Mobile Galaxy Note 4 not being affected while AT&T’s and Verizon’s are. Sprint customers with those phones will only lose T-Mobile network roaming but will be able to function as normal.
In other words, T-Mobile has so far offered no explanation for the unexpected change, probably hoping it won’t be much of a big deal considering the age of those devices. Those affected might be given some incentives to upgrade to a new phone, presuming they haven’t already by now.