Sprint’s Network has been officially Retired

The remnants of Sprint’s network have been set out to pasture. Sprint’s LTE network has been exited by its new owner, T-Mobile.

In addition, Sprint’s 3G CDMA network was locked down this year, and what remains of T-Mobile’s own 3G network document retirement today.

It may be a surprise that any part of Sprint’s network was still operational recently. In April 2020, T-Mobile officially carried ownership of the company, including all of its expanse and network towers, which would eventually be repurposed for 5G. As a result, Sprint’s 3G CDMA network was the first to go when T-Mobile started to shut down Sprint’s systems in March.

It had initially been planned to sunset the network at the end of 2021. Still, after a heated debate over anti-competitive behavior during which Dish chairman Charlie Ergen called T-Mobile a Grinch, the date was pushed back.

Sprint’s LTE network followed later and was officially retired yesterday, June 30, 2022. Unlike the company’s 3G network, which the ex-executive editor Dieter Bohn paid suitable tribute to in his Sprint commendation, there’s not much of a reason to regret its loss. Sprint was delinquent to LTE after betting first on WiMAX; consequently, its LTE network lagged far behind the rival when it was up and running. It was flat-out wrong.

If you are still using a phone driving on Sprint LTE or T-Mobile’s 3G, there’s a high probability that you’ve already experienced problems with your service. In any case, T-Mobile will be better than happy to get a 5G mobile in your hands. Paulsen says, “Customers who required to take action as a result of these retirement actions were notified well ahead of time and acquired an offer for a free 5G replacement device.”

If the deprecation of legacy wireless networks brings a tear to your eye, take heart: T-Mobile’s 2G GSM network is still operational. The company plans to retire but doesn’t have a set date yet.

Sprint Corporation and T-Mobile U.S. merged in 2020 in an all-shares deal for $26 billion. The agreement was announced on April 29, 2018. After a two-year-long approval procedure, the merger closed on April 1, 2020, with T-Mobile emerging as the surviving brand. T-Mobile discontinued the Sprint brand on August 2, 2020.

In December 2013, multiple reports suggested that Sprint Corporation and its parent company SoftBank were operating towards a deal to obtain a majority stake in T-Mobile U.S. for at least US$20 billion. The proposed consolidation, which would have resulted in the nation’s top national carriers being handled by only three companies, would further strengthen T-Mobile’s position in the overall market.

However, government members were skeptical that such an investment would be approved by regulators, noting antitrust concerns and an explicit goal by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to assert four national carriers in the United States.

On April 30, 2014, Bloomberg reported that Sprint was in talks with its lenders to ensure that the company would be financially prepared for the bid, valued at $24 billion and planned for “summer 2014”. It was also reported that due to his success within the company, then T-Mobile CEO John Legere was the top contender to be named CEO of a merged Sprint/T-Mobile and that Sprint had insisted on a low termination fee to prevent regulators from being given an incentive to block the deal, as had occurred with AT&T’s failed attempt to purchase T-Mobile.

On August 1, 2014, Xavier Niel’s Iliad S.A. publicly announced a $16 billion all-cash counter-bid to acquire a 56% stake in T-Mobile U.S. and be funded using equity and debt. Iliad is the parent organization of French carrier Free Mobile, which had, like T-Mobile, undertaken disruptive company moves to undercut its competitors, triggering a “price war” among them upon its liftoff in 2012.

Credit Suisse judges felt that the bid would not be appealing to the company’s current shareholders due to its lower value than Sprint’s bid but could “put pressure on Sprint to move sooner rather than later.”

On August 4, 2014, Bloomberg reported that Sprint had abandoned its bid to acquire T-Mobile, considering the unlikelihood that the U.S. government and its regulators would approve such a deal.

On February 17, 2017, Reuters reported that Softbank was considering selling its majority stake in Sprint to Deutsche Telekom, citing struggling growth in the U.S. market and a higher likelihood that the Trump administration would approve the deal.

However, after months of speculation and rumors about a potential agreement being reached, both T-Mobile and Sprint announced on November 4, 2017, that while they had had discussions about a possible merger, the two parties had decided to end merger talks due to not being able to agree on the terms of the deal, due to Softbank’s board of directors reported vote on October 27 where they decided not to give up control of Sprint.

Sprint and T-Mobile again resumed talks of a merger in April 2018 and announced a merger agreement on April 29.

T-Mobile U.S., Inc. is an American wireless network operator owned by German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom (D.T.), holding 64.78% of the common stock. Its headquarters are in Bellevue, Washington, in the Seattle metropolitan area, and Overland Park, Kansas, in the Kansas City metro area. T-Mobile is the second-largest wireless porter in the United States, with 108.7 million subscribers as of Q4 2021.

T-Mobile U.S. provides wireless voice and data services in the United States under the T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile brands. Also, it serves as the host network for many mobile virtual network operators. The company has annual revenues of over $40 billion. In 2015, Consumer Reports named T-Mobile the number one American wireless carrier.

On April 1, 2020, T-Mobile and Sprint Corporation completed their merger, with T-Mobile now being the sole owner of Sprint, making Sprint an effective subsidiary of T-Mobile until the Sprint brand was officially phased out on August 2, 2020. Leadership, background, and stock changes happened immediately, with customer-side changes occurring over time. Billing was already showing the T-Mobile brand; on this date, all retail, customer service, and other company branding switched to the T-Mobile brand.