T-Mobile to shut down MetroPCS CDMA network in New England, Las Vegas by end of Q2

T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) is notifying customers of its MetroPCS prepaid brand in New England and Las Vegas that they will need to upgrade their devices as T-Mobile prepares to shut off MetroPCS' legacy CDMA network in those areas and move customers to its GSM-based network.

A MetroPCS web page tells customers in those areas they should check to see if their phone is eligible for an upgrade credit so they can get a new, GSM-based phone. Some phones will be free plus sales tax. Customers need to upgrade by June 30.

The website notes: "Don't wait--customers on the legacy network in New England and Las Vegas will need to upgrade by 6/30/14. Phones operating on this legacy network will no longer work effective 7/1/14."

"We are not shuttering service for MetroPCS customers," T-Mobile said in a statement. "We ARE moving MetroPCS 3G CDMA customers to a better, faster network and offering them 4G HSPA+/LTE phones--giving them a better experience on a better network at almost no cost to them."

In February, T-Mobile said it would shut down MetroPCS' CDMA networks in Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Boston by the end of this year, a year earlier than expected. 

At an investor conference in early March, T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter said that the transition of MetroPCS customers to T-Mobile's network was going better than expected. At that time, he said that around 40 percent of MetroPCS customers were using T-Mobile's GSM/HSPA+/LTE network, and that by the end of the year 80 percent of MetroPCS customers would be on the T-Mobile network. Carter said that the CDMA shutdowns would happen on a market-by-market basis, and that the shutdown of MetroPCS' CDMA network would result in an additional $1 billion in annual cash flows for T-Mobile.

T-Mobile is refarming MetroPCS' AWS spectrum to bolster capacity on its LTE network. The company also recently confirmed it is starting to deploy 4x2 MIMO antenna technology in its LTE network to enhance network performance at the cell edge and generally boost the customer experience.

T-Mobile has said it will expand its LTE network to encompass its entire 2G EDGE network by the middle of 2015. T-Mobile's LTE network currently covers 210 million POPs, and the company has previously said it plans to increase that to 230 million by mid-year and 250 million by the end of 2014.

For more:
- see this MetroPCS page
- see this PhoneScoop article
- see this TMoNews article

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