After T-Mobile announced its successful merger with Sprint in April 2020, many users on both carriers remain clueless if their devices would work seamlessly with the new combined network.
Now boasting 100 million users, the merged carrier under the T-Mobile brand now has a customer base that makes among the giants in the U.S. telco market. But this growing and expanding customer base has led to many questions about the status of their subscriptions, especially Sprint users who were integrated into the T-Mobile fold.
A Cnet article clarified these issues as those major changes in the network were in effect.
Sprint, T-Mobile Phones Work on Each Other's Networks
First of all, Sprint phones works on the T-Mobile network, and vice-versa. Both T-Mobile and Sprint networks remain up and running, and as such, all phones or devices connected to them will not lose connection.
On the new combined network, both Sprint and T-Mobile users experienced improvements in coverage. T-Mobile actually expanded a roaming agreement to allow Sprint users in its network.
For their benefit, T-Mobile users actually gained extra capacity due to Sprint's spectrum. Because of this, users on both networks enjoyed faster speeds and improved performance, whether on 5G or LTE.
A question on the minds of a lot of Sprint users after the 2020 merger was completed dealt with the actual handset they are carrying. Would they need to purchase a new T-Mobile phone? The answer is no, even if you own an old or recent iPhone or Galaxy. What's advantageous about the merger is that both the T-Mobile and Sprint networks have been configured to support all phones under both carriers' watch.
Sprint, in particular, announced immediately after the merger that nearly one-half of its customer base, or around 20 million users, had their devices compatible with the T-Mobile network.
Complicated 5G Connections for Sprint, T-Mobile Users
If users have the latest Apple or Samsung smartphone models, such as their flagship iPhone 13 or Galaxy S21, they can benefit from T-Mobile's wider-ranging 600 MHz spectrum (called Band 71). An iPhone XR, XS, or later can also provide the full T-Mobile experience, but phones released earlier than 2018 would not be able to enjoy the complete package.
In tapping 5G technology, the situation may become tricky, owing to the complicated nature of 5G in the U.S.
For example, some Sprint 5G phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G released in 2019, could work well on the mmWave (millimeter wave) 5G network in some areas, like New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. These phones however could not tap into T-Mobile's low-band 5G network available nationwide.
Similarly, T-Mobile's 5G phones launched last year, including the Galaxy S10 5G, could use both its mmWave 5G network and Sprint's midband 5G network currently available in nine U.S. markets, but these might not be able to use the carrier's own nationwide low-band 5G network.
Other models, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G and OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren, can use T-Mobile's low-band 5G network and Sprint's midband network, yet could not use the mmWave 5G. Likewise, the Galaxy S20 5G could only be used on T-Mobile's low-band and Sprint's mid-band networks.
To tap all the carriers' 5G networks--T-Mobile's lowband and mmWave and Sprint's midband--users should have the latest models.