T-Mobile announced that it will extend the deadline for its CDMA network shutdown by three months, to March 31, 2022.
That’s not a lot more time than it already was giving Dish Network to prepare to transition Boost Mobile customers off CDMA, but it’s better than the January 1, 2022, date it previously targeted.
“This decision has no material financial impact to our business and the rapid pace of our 5G buildout will continue,” T-Mobile said in a statement posted to its website Friday. “Our reason for extending is simple: we want to give those partners who haven’t done the right thing for their customers every opportunity to step up now and do so.”
T-Mobile’s already blasted Dish and said it was “dragging their feet” in getting customers upgraded to the 4G/5G world, so it drove the knife in a bit further, saying: “There should be no more room for excuses. We have provided even more time and those partners can follow suit with the effort that is needed to ensure no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide.”
Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen complained earlier this year that T-Mobile President and CEO Mike Sievert was looking like a magenta “Grinch,” and Dish accused the “un-carrier” of anti-competitive behavior.
It’s all somewhat ironic in that Dish played a central role in T-Mobile’s ability to merge with Sprint, presenting the U.S. government with a candidate to replace Sprint as the fourth facilities-based wireless operator. With Sprint, T-Mobile became the No. 2 wireless operator in the U.S. by subscribers and gained a boatload of 2.5 GHz spectrum that propelled its standing as the 5G network leader.
The feud surfaced when Dish revealed in February that T-Mobile had informed them that it was going to shut down the CDMA network this coming January. Dish was under the impression that it had up to three years, at least, to migrate Boost Mobile subscribers currently on the CDMA network to new handsets that work on T-Mobile’s newer network, or until July 2023.
Last October, T-Mobile informed Dish that it was going through with the shutdown about a year and a half earlier than Dish expected. T-Mobile said it was all contractually legal, whereas Dish described it as the result of T-Mobile’s “greed.”