Dish accused T-Mobile of the type of dubious operator behavior that T-Mobile turned into a business by accusing AT&T and Verizon of acting, demanding that the FCC weigh in on the closure of the CDMA network on which many of its subscribers still depend. Dish and T-Mobile were supposed to collaborate closely after the merger of T-Mobile with Sprint, but now the smaller operator says its former partner is getting stealthy.
As part of a series of commitments made by T-Mobile in trying to convince regulators to give the green light to Sprint’s business, it agreed to sell some assets to Dish. This included Boost, the prepaid business that Sprint had been operating.
Boost uses CDMA technology and writing has always been on the wall for the legacy network. The intention, says Dish, was to build a 5G network to replace the CDMA service and transition customers. However, this will take years to complete.
Now, in a letter to the FCC, Dish Network accuses T-Mobile of pulling the rug by rushing to close CDMA. The current target is January 1, 2022, leaving Dish with insufficient time to replace this service with its own 5G network. The operator had been waiting internally for more than 3 to 5 years before any shutdown, sources said to Axios.
“A forced migration of this scale in this accelerated period of time is simply not possible and will potentially leave millions of Boost subscribers disenfranchised and without cell service on January 1, 2022,” letter from Dish, signed by Jeffrey H. Blum, vice executive chairman External and Legislative Affairs, he points out.
Three years, Blum argues, would make a lot more sense for CDMA’s closure. He points out that Verizon has taken a much more conservative approach to shutting down its CDMA service, despite the fact that less than 1 percent of its subscribers actually use this 3G network. Verizon originally intended to deactivate CDMA in 2019, but has since extended that deadline to the end of 2022.
Currently, “the majority” of the 9 million Boost customers using the service rely on the Sprint CDMA network, says Blum. Not only do many of these customers face economic difficulties, he points out, the continued shortage of chips that affects the smartphone industry and others will “make it even more difficult to purchase compatible replacement devices before shutdown”.
“During its previous life as a“ non-operator ”, T-Mobile advocated policies that promoted competition, ownership of a diverse spectrum and efficient use of spectrum,” writes Blum. “How quickly things change. Now, T-Mobile is opposed to measures that would help new entrants and smaller providers to compete using CBRS licenses, participate in a global equipment market and promote American 5G leadership. ”