T-Mobile/Sprint network changes, ending 3G support

Will the Moto G7 and G7 Play need to be upgraded as they show preferred network of 3G?

Hi @bruceb.aw4dhu,

I think there may be some confusion here.

I’ve seen nothing to indicate T-Mobile is sunsetting its’ 3G network in October. What I have seen is T-Mobile won’t allow new activations on its’ network unless the phone(s) being activated are certified for VoLTE on T-Mobile’s network beginning in October. To the best of my knowledge, phones already active on T-Mobile’s network aren’t immediately impacted.

I’ve also seen nothing to suggest Sprint’s legacy LTE network (now also owned by T-Mobile as the result of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger) is to be shut down in October of this year. In fact, T-Mobile’s current timeline for shutting down Sprint LTE is June 30, 2022. T-Mobile has indicated it intends to shut down the legacy Sprint CDMA (older than LTE technology) network on or about January 1, 2022.

All of the above said, both of the Moto G7 series phones you reference are 4G LTE and VoLTE capable, so, no, there is no need for an immediate upgrade. I also don’t understand why your phones are showing 3G as a preferred network. Let’s see if we might address that. As a starting point, please advise which Republic SIM type is in each phone. The how to on that from Republic is linked here:

For others reading, it’s true changes are coming to the wireless phone industry generally and Republic specifically. There is, however, no need for immediate concern. Much of what one might see online is speculation and not all of it is particularly informed. I’m confident Republic will tell us what we need to know when we need to know it.

New dates

Thanks to some new internal documents found by The T-Mo Report, we’ve learned more information surrounding T-Mobile’s 3G shut down — and the impending death of Sprint. Here are the new dates you’ll need to take note of:

  • T-Mobile is no longer accepting CDMA-only devices and phones without VoLTE as of June 16 .
  • T-Mobile’s UMTS 3G network is still scheduled to close down on October 1 .
  • Sprint’s legacy CDMA 3G network is set to shut down on January 1, 2022 .
  • Sprint’s LTE and 5G network will turn off on June 30, 2022 .

The most important date here is for T-Mobile’s 3G network, which the carrier placed on hiatus in February. It’s back to the initially planned date of October 1, leaving users less than two months to switch to a VoLTE-capable phone if they haven’t already. Sprint’s LTE and 5G networks also have a new end date, with any device not compatible with T-Mobile’s network requiring an upgrade before that date to continue operating.

from an updated article

Also, on the Republic app it states the phone is GSM,
but if you go into Network & Internet settings, then Mobile Network, it shows Preferred Network Type “LTE on (Automatic LTE/3G/2G)”

Hi @bruceb.aw4dhu,

We will be in touch with affected phone owners concerning all of the coming changes on the T-Mobile network.

The Moto G7 and G7 Play are 4G LTE capable phones.

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That settings is the correct setting. You need to read it in order. What it means is that the phone will prefer LTE. If not available fall back to 3G, if not available fall back to 2G. Only after trying all the network types will it declare there’s no signal. Your phone is both set to the correct setting and fully compatible with the network both now, after October, after January, after June and for the long foreseeable future.

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Hi @bruceb.aw4dhu,

Here’s our official announcement regarding the T-Mobile October 1, 2021 requirement for VoLTE-capable phones.

There are a lot of details to confirm, preparations to make, and frequent changes to the news we receive regarding all the network changes the major carriers have in mind. We are working diligently to make sure we are providing the most accurate information to impacted members with as much lead-time as possible. We don’t want to jump the gun and scare people with information that turns out to be incorrect, but we also don’t want to put people in a situation where they are scrambling to replace a phone on short notice.

It’s a delicate balance and we appreciate your feedback and desire to hold our feet to the fire to make sure we keep our members well informed.

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Sorry, didn’t intend to kick the ant pile…

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Hi Bruce B … Thank you for kicking the ant pile and putting some real information out there. Of course, I have a Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) (SM-J320A). I have also paid in full for service with RW using their annual one payment offer through March 12 2022. I would not have paid for a year of service if I knew that my phone had to be replaced in order for me to use my phone Oct 1 2021 through Mar 12 2022. Basically, because RW and T-Mobile and Dish decided about service and costs (and profit), I have to shell out for a new phone. Somebody is making profit off me “mid-period” even though I supposedly have an arrangement for service with RW through March 12, 2022. My call is that it is not fair. Maybe if I just stay at home using my tired old J3 over Wifi all will be ok. Maybe RW should refund, prorata, the annual payment I made so I can cut the tie and still feel ok about the company - the new owner of RW certainly is not in line with the original RW spirit of value. My old J3 works very well; good equipment! Waste! The loyal customer pays for corporate greed. Thanks for reading to here, Bruce, and thanks for challenging corporate speak and the spin. -R (Yes I started the RW journey with a DEFY XT)

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This is purely T-Mobile’s decision to shut down its; legacy 3G network on October 1, 2021. Absent 3G on the network, your Samsung Galaxy J3 simply won’t work as it lacks the ability to use VoLTE (calling over 4G LTE). Neither Republic or DISH had any input into T-Mobile’s decision.

Yes, and would need to do so eventually regardless. The only other cellular network your Galaxy J3 is compatible with is AT&T’s. AT&T is currently scheduled to shut down its’ 3G network in February 2022.

That would, for the most part, be the manufacturer of whatever phone you choose to acquire to replace the Galaxy J3. It’s not a matter of if on that, it’s a matter of when.

Republic does not offer WiFi only service on the Galaxy J3, so this is not a viable option.

I’m not entirely unsympathetic on this, however, and for what it’s worth, the lack of an available refund for annual service once paid was disclosed when you signed up.

Once again, this is entirely T-Mobile’s decision to retire the network technology your Galaxy J3 depends upon for service. Neither Republic or DISH can provide support for a phone that depends on network technology the owner (T-Mobile) has chosen to shut down.

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Hi @reaspprsr,

Just for the sake of clarity, Bruce’s post’s timing was coincidental with our announcement. These things take time to plan and execute, and an overnight turnaround would be impossible for a situation like this.

I see Roland has already addressed this, but to reiterate, this decision has not been made by Republic or DISH.

This is an understandable reaction to a situation that leaves you feeling you hand is being forced. Unfortunately in the world of technology there are no guarantees that any piece of equipment will be supported until the user is quite satisified that he is through using it. As someone who buys into the Clark Howard philosophy of driving a car (and my cell phone) until the wheels fall off, this can sometimes be a difficult pill to swallow.

This is an interesting suggestion for two reasons - one, have you asked? Did you respond to the e-mail and ask what arrangements might be available for those on the annual payment plan who are not currently in the position to buy a new phone? But secondly, when you cut the tie, where would you go? As Roland has pointed out, your J3 cannot be used anywhere else, either. All of the major cellular networks have decided it’s time for these older devices to be sunset. So you’re going to have to replace the phone, whether or not you stay on your annual payment. This doesn’t mean you have to buy a brand-spankin’-shiny-new phone straight from the RW store. We didn’t do this to boost sales. You can buy a replacement phone elsewhere, including picking up a used phone from a third-party source like Swappa or even from a friend. You’ll just want to make sure the phone you select is compatible with our My Choice Plan if you want to continue on your current Annual Payment option.

Thank you for being a long-time Republic member, and I hope, having been such a long-time member, you’ll give us the benefit of the doubt that our intent is, as we indicated in the e-mail, to help you through this transition.

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Actually, it’s kind of interesting question some of the impacted members have been asking. These phones will lose cellular connectivity on 10/1/21. We’re not actually cutting them off, though, so for all practical purposes, they would become Wi-Fi-only phones at that time.

It would be a very poor experience, especially since our My Choice service is designed to be a hybrid service rather than a Wi-Fi-only service, and I’m sure there are better ways to set up a Wi-Fi-only solution.

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Interesting, I hadn’t considered the possibility it would be possible to continue using the impacted phones on WiFi only. I suppose it would be no different than using a Republic 3.0 phone when outside the U.S.

There are certainly other ways to do so. Google Voice is likely the most well known option though getting a Republic number there is a hassle. Google Voice also charges a port in fee of $20 but there would be no ongoing monthly expense for most calling and text messaging to/from U.S. and Canadian numbers.

Sideline is another option. Republic numbers transfer easily to Sideline and there is no fee to port a number into Sideline. Unlike, Google Voice, however, there is ongoing monthly expense albeit less than Republic’s minimum $15 plus taxes and telecom fees for My Choice talk & text only service.

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Has there been any update as to what RW will do when T-Mobile finally ends Sprint’s CDMA network in January? The reason I ask is because my annual payment is coming due next month. I desperately want to stay with RW, but I’d like to have some idea what my reception might be once the transition is over. If nothing is clear yet I’ll probably go on monthly until something is final.

I’m using a Pixel 3a XL with a CDMA SIM.

No. I haven’t seen any update.

I don’t imagine you’ll see much change. Your Pixel 3a XL is likely already using VoLTE for communication, rather than 3G CDMA. Still, it might be wise to go monthly on billing in case something changes with coverage in your area.

This is a good point. Though T-Mobile is currently scheduled to shut down Sprint’s legacy CDMA network on January 1, 2022, T-Mobile will continue to operate Sprint’s LTE network as a separate entity until, I believe, July 1, 2022. Presumably, much of Sprint’s LTE coverage footprint will ultimately be folded into T-Mobile’s existing LTE coverage footprint.

My wife was on Sprint directly. They sent her a free T-Mobille sim, so they are actively promoting a switchover. I do think her connection is now better. If you have a CDMA sim with Republic, and your connection gets worse, you can get a Republic GSM sim easily enough.

That said, there are hints of significant change at Republic, so I think going to monthly is wise. that’s what I plan to do.

You could very well be right. My only issue is that while LTE coverage is good in town, I don’t have to drive very far until it’s non-existent. We’ll have to see what the future holds. At least we know that the GSM/CDMA dichotomy is dying the death it deserves to die.

In some areas, T-Mobile’s coverage has sufficiently improved to make substituting a Republic GSM SIM for a Republic CDMA SIM a viable option. There are, however, other areas where this isn’t the case and GSM (T-Mobile network) would provide inferior coverage to CDMA (legacy Sprint network) coverage.

Opting for monthly payments makes sense. I continue to advocate for the admittedly not entirely satisfying wait and see. Unless one is experiencing an issue with their Republic service today, I suggest one wait to see what happens, then make decisions from there.

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So this means my Moto X 2nd gen on a 1.0 plan is going to become unusable on January 1st?

I guess I’ll have to start searching for a new provider.

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