T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) plans to shut off the legacy CDMA network of its MetroPCS prepaid brand on June 21, earlier than expected. The carrier still needs to shut down the CDMA network in three major markets.
T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter said last month that the carrier expected to shut down the entire CDMA network in the second half of 2015, so the June 21 deadline indicates the company is speeding up the process.
T-Mobile is pushing hard to get customers who still have CDMA-based phones to upgrade to phones that work with T-Mobile's GSM/HSPA+/LTE network. There are still several hundred thousand customers in that category.
A MetroPCS website notes that "phones operating on the legacy network must be upgraded by 6/21/15." After that date, the site notes, "MetroPCS will be converting our legacy network to our new network, making the network bigger and faster in these markets."
MetroPCS notes that "phones operating on MetroPCS' legacy network after 6/21/15 are not guaranteed to have service."
T-Mobile said last month that 92 percent of the MetroPCS customer base is off the CDMA network and that less than 500,000 customers remain on the CDMA network. The carrier also said around 80 percent MetroPCS' spectrum had been refarmed and integrated into the T-Mobile network as of the end of the first quarter. In the first quarter T-Mobile decommissioned the CDMA portion of the MetroPCS network in Atlanta and the Detroit metro area, bringing the overall total market shutdowns to eight so far, with only three major markets left.
MetroPCS said customers with an older phone model can receive an upgrade credit when they upgrade to a new GSM-based phone model. Based on the make and model, MetroPCS customers will receive an upgrade credit of $32, $54, $109 or $299, which will help defray the cost of upgrading.
To be eligible for an upgrade as part of the program, customers must have an active phone on the MetroPCS network and the phone's MEID must match the MEID on the customer's account. The phone must also have been active on the MetroPCS account for at least 30 days. Once at a MetroPCS retail location, sales representatives can further determine if your make and model of the customer's phone is eligible for the upgrade program.
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