T-Mobile Pilot Trial Will Start Moving Customers Off 2G Network With Upgrade Incentives

Looks like T-Mobile is beginning to kick their network refarm into another gear as a new piece of intel hits our inbox suggesting T-Mobile will begin a “3G Device Upgrade Pilot” for select cities in the US. Beginning July 9th and running through July 30th, select residents of Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, DC, and Miami will take part in a pilot to cut the number of 2G devices on T-Mobile’s 1900MHz network. Each of the markets will have different offers for customers with 2G devices to upgrade to a 3G/4G device.

In order for a customer to qualify for this offer, they are on chosen from Classic or Legacy rate plan subscriber using 1000 or more minutes per month on a 2G only device. The iPhone, which now runs on 2G bands on T-Mobile’s network does not qualify for this offer. Customers will be chosen based on high-call volume, usage at peak hours, and/or extreme issues with the network.

In each market, five thousand customers will be selected to receive a mailer notifying them of the offer and each 2G device on the account is eligible for the offer. Pending the results of this pilot test, a full launch may come in the Fall as T-Mobile works to move as many customers as possible off their 2G network to free up space for HSPA+ refarming rollout.

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  • Tmorep

    i would just turn in some cheap phone i’m not using..HAHA

    • Phershey128

      Thats stupid. You will be offered the deal based on your imei number if the phone being used. You failed as a tmorep

      • Tmorep

        actually i didnt fail as a tmorep. i was severanced because my store closed, thanks to the merger that never happened. i’m sure you could use another phone and make that imei show up. i’m so sure they are going to have a list of imeis contacting people saying “i want this particular phone”, etc..

  • Sajam500

    Dont understand how people function on Edge. I was 3 miles from downtown & phone slipped to E. i couldnt do anything so unclear @ throttling giving you unlimited..Coulnt check email, web didnt load, games requiring internet failed & gps was totally useless

    • Idazedi

       ive been on edge for 4 years now..tmobile has yet to put a 3g tower in my area.

      • Why wouldn’t you get another carrier, or move?  It’s hard to understand how someone could be interested enough in tech to be participate in aforum like this yet not make having these kinds of services a priority.

        • Spanky

          Although moving may be a bit extreme, I agree 100% about switching carriers. As a result of data issues that have been affecting my neighborhood for nearly a year, I’m leaving T-Mobile for AT&T this week. This is not to say that I won’t return to T-Mobile if it improves service in my area. However, 0.5 Mbps downstream speeds are simply not acceptable in a major metropolis.

        • What I meant was, I would switch to a carrier that had 3/4G BUT if none of the carriers in the area had 3/4G, then I would seriously consider moving.  Might be fine for a grandmother, but not me… or probably anyone in a tech forum.

        • Spanky

          Can’t argue there. In fact, next time I move, signal strength and data speeds will both play a role in my decision of what place to chose. I am a tech aficionado and high-speed wireless connectivity is important to me.

          Case and point: my wife, who has a line on our 2-line family plan, found the 0.5 Mbps speeds that we’ve been dealing with perfectly acceptable. I, on the other hand, couldn’t stand them, so I finally took our service over to a carrier whose speeds are far superior.

        • well I have a unlocked att phone and i t  use wifi  most of the time when im out I don’t use  edge . the only reason I use edge is because I know its only for a few months till I can use 3g on my att phone

        • Idazedi

           well i had high hopes for tmobile and they have failed me.so if they dont put at least a 3g tower in my area within the next couple of months im def switching carriers.my college campus has wifi everywhere so edge doesnt bother me too much but its still kind of annoying.im thinking att or sprint

    • 21stNow

       Some people use phones only to talk on.  Others only use talk and text.  Finally, others use talk, text, and feature-phone data like email and sports scores.  Remember, it’s around one-third of T-Mobile’s customers that have smartphones.  There are around 20 million people who couldn’t care less about data speed.

  • They really want those things off the street.

  • But they’re actually reducing the AWS HSPA spectrum?  Will exisiting Tmo devices, like the Galaxy S phones, be able to use PCA *and* AWS HSPA?

    • Guest

      Some T-Mobile phones (The Vibrant, for instance) are capable of using 3G on PCS/1900mhz. 

      • I could be wrong, but I don’t think it’s some… I think ALL 3G/4G phones on Tmo also support AT&T frequencies (even though the phone may be locked) which are more standard.

        • Guest

          I believe all T-Mobile handsets support AT&T frequencies for 2G (GSM) service, however only a handful support 3G (UTMS) on frequencies besides 1700/2100. So those handsets will work on 1900, but they will only receive EDGE service.

          The myTouch Q is an example of a handset that supports Quad Band GSM service, but only Dual Band UTMS. Therefore, it will not work with the refarmed 1900mhz 3G service.

        • There’s a list from December 2011[1]. All smartphones that have come out in 2012 have PCS and AWS HSPA support. Of the featurephone lineup, only the Samsung Gravity TXT so far has PCS and AWS HSPA support. Future featurephones will have it, as will smartphones, data sticks, and mobile hotspots.
          [1]: https://www.tmonews.com/2011/12/unlocked-iphone-spotted-running-on-t-mobiles-3g-network-its-true-sort-of/ 

        • Rudy Belova

           NOT all, if most are NOT able to use all of at&t’s 3g/4g freq. Most have 1900mhz HSPA but many don’t have 850mhz HSPA, which is very useful for at&t 3g roaming. My amaze had at&t HSPA+ in west virginia while my friends mytouch 4g slide did not, only 2g.

    • kk888

      I believe all T-mobile 42mbps (DC-HSPA?) phones support 1900mhz 3G(or faux-G),aka PCS 3G or UMTS band 2.

  • nick p

    What if the customer has a unlocked phone? Yeah, I would not turn a unlocked phone in for a locked one
    If you get these plans, turn in a locked T-Mobile phone and keep the unlocked one

    • An unlocked phone that doesn’t have 3G isn’t particularly valuable anyway is it?

      • nick p

        Not really, but it means I can get a RAZR V3I unlocked for next to nothing as a spare, seeing as I don’t need it on this phone

        If you read the previous comment I left, i was given a V3I unlocked that needed a battery, and i have a good battery, so 2G phones are easy to find

    • Tayshaun

      If you have an unlocked phone you’re okay because your phone will switch to 3G with refarm. This is only for customers whose phones don’t have 3G and/or the 1900 MHz band.

      • 21stNow

         There are unlocked 2G only phones, too.

        • nick p

          The phone I have in question is a RAZR V3I, so it’s a 2G phone(if I had a V3XX unlocked, it would not make a difference due to AT&T’s 3G bands, and the browser still sucks), and it’s not used for more then calls and texts, so I do not need 3G, that’s why I have a smartphone, this v3I is my secondary

          Believe it or not, I actually own 2 of these unlocked, I was given the other one when they upgraded, I just got a third party battery for it and it is another spare, should I need it

        • JBrowne1012

          But really theres not many of them in use. What devices would they be? some age old flip phone for t-mobile? maybe a crackberry from the stone age? those brick-sized nokias when the thought of a portable cell phone was new? I mean I can’t imagine many 2g only devices on our network that isn’t the original iPhone.

        • 21stNow

           Any of those are possibilities.  I was thinking of old basic phones that some older customers tend to use.

      • nick p

        My current 2G phone(which is a basic phone) has the 1900 band, it’s a factory unlocked RAZR V3I,

        it was a concern because I’m considering T-Mobile for the carrier to use it on

        It has the 850/900/1800/1900 bands, and do not use it for the web, the browser sucks, I don’t need it’s browser

  • Wilma Flintstone

    I wonder if anybody will start complaining about New York having an upgrade fee while the others don’t?

    • Undoubtedly.

    • Spanky

      My 7-year tenure as a T-Mobile subscriber is coming to an end this Thursday, so I am certainly not complaining. I am, however, really curious as to why only NYC has an upgrade fee. Come to think about it, why is Miami only eligible for certain devices?

    • kk888

      Is only $18,though is not fair

  • Christopher_McG

    Well, I’m using a 4G phone on a 2G connection at home.. does I counts?

    Get your shit together T-Mobile. It’s 2012, no reason for there to still be GSM only serving cell sites. 

    • How’s life as an illiterate?

  • GSM Rules Here!

    In my area, GSM is superior in voice quality to WCDMA with T-Mobile. It comes down to 20 MHz 1900/GSM/2G versus 10 MHz AWS/WCDMA/3G/4G in this market. Less network congestion makes the difference!

    I’m not against upgrading, but I won’t give up my T339 with UMA. It works well and is versatile with GSM handoff. I use it on various wired broadband networks. I also hope to use it on future high quality wireless broadband networks. Bring on LTE!

    T-Mobile is selling a lot of machine to machine on GSM, plus international roaming money from those traveling in the USA. GSM is not going away anytime soon.


  • ingram1225

    can someone please answer this question… why does the tmobile HTC One S only show 2g and 4g but no 3g? My “2g” is way faster and more stable than my “4g” here in washington state, at least north of seattle.

    • Tayshaun

      With TMO, the 3G and 4G bands are one in the same so the phone has no way of distinguishing between the two. It simply defaults to showing 4G whenever HSPA is available.

      • ingram1225

        hey thanks a lot. Wonder if the phone seeks out the faux “4g” (hspa+) first before going back to 3g. It’s sad to know that the 2g is faster in terms of stability and reliability. 

        • Tayshaun

           No problem. And yes, the phone will seek out whatever the fastest available network connection is. In my experience, 2G is generally more reliable but can’t even compare to 4G (HSPA+) in terms of pure speed.

    • What I’ve found using the Mobile Signal Widget https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.empirical.widget.signal is that when the radio is in an idle state it connects as UMTS (or 3G) and when data is active it ramps up to HSDPA (or what T-Mobile is calling 4G) – all the while the phone is showing you 4G.

      I hypothesize that if the phone didn’t just only show 2G and 4G it would CONSTANTLY be changing from 3G and 4G probably resulting in confusion and unnecessary calls to customer care.

      • J-Hop2o6

         ^^ THIS. Tmo just wanted to avoid confusion with the constant switching between 3G and H/4G. My G2 (even with a custom rom) shows “3G” when inactive (data wise) but connected to HSPA, then shows H once active (data wise).

        • WW

          Same with my GNex.  Shows “H” and constantly fluctuates between that and 

          “3G”.  My old HTC Sensation did the same thing as William Ingram’s One S (“4G” & “2G” only).   

        • That’s where I first noticed it – CyanogenMod 7 on my HTC MyTouch 4G…

      • Jason Crumbley

        CM9 shows that constant switching between 3G and 4G. 

    • J-Hop2o6

      The 4G icon is actually suppose to show H+ since HSPA+ isn’t true 4G, leave that for LTE. It’s just all for marketing purpose for T-Mobile. So if the icon showed 3G and/or 4G, it just means HSPA/HSPA+. I’m sure once Tmo pushes out LTE and LTE phones, the new icon will say 4GLTE like Verizon’s LTE phones.

      But I haven’t been up to North Seattle in awhile. But South Seattle and other places in and around Seattle have been fine for me (atleast 3mbps+ on HSPA+). Must be your phone.

      • Jason Crumbley

        LTE isn’t true 4G either. Saying LTE is 4G is for marketing purposes for AT&T and Verizon. LTE Advanced is 4G, and that is what T-Mobile is going to deploy in the future.

        • J-Hop2o6

          I know about all of that. But LTE is closer to true 4G than HSPA+ is. I just hate hearing its “4G”. But I know its all marketing. And LTE-Advanced will be 4G+ to me like HSPA+ is 3G+ (aka 3.5G) to me.

      • JBrowne1012

        HSPA+ is defined as true 4G but if you want to go by old standards not even LTE is 4G. jus sayin

        • J-Hop2o6

          I know, just hate the marketing of it as “4G”. I know current LTE is not TRUE 4G, but its closer to 4G than HSPA+ is.

  • Rep

    I wonder if these stores will still be selling the sparq, x2, 665, gs170, and t139… Seeing as they are all 2g phones that are in the active line up.

    • nick p

      probably will be discontinued soon

      • JBrowne1012

        they all should have been discontinued by now seeing as not many people buy em

  • Joseph Tongret

    Okay, so Tmo wants to free up space on the 1900 by giving 5,000 ppl in these areas 3/4g devices, but only to ppl on edge only phones? This makes sense then, as I assume they’ll be testing hspa on the 1900 band in these areas stated above once they have uncluttered the band by upgrading some of the current 2g users on it? Assuming I was correct in the above statement, would those be the cities where the refarm will launch in the fall, or is it expected to launch all together nationwide, or will this only blanket select areas & never be nationwide? I’m having a hard time understanding exactly what,, where, & when Tmo is going to be doing this launch of the 1900mhz hspa. Anyone that can help me here plz chime in, I follow all of Tmobiles news, as well as all smartphone news but I’ve been unclear on this & I’m hoping to see it in NE Ohio, as I do own unlocked devices. Thanks in advance.

  • Guest

    Except in my case I am screwed.  They have been refarming here.  I am in the shadow of two towers and do not get decent 3G/4G from either.  I depended on 2G to be able to make calls.  Now since they messed with it, every time I get a call, it shows 3g with NO bars and as it attempts to hand it off to 2G it drops every call.   I have been with t-mo since 2002.  Sad to say as soon as the wp8 phones launch on ATT I am gone.  I have to be able to have a dependable phone in my house and they are not cutting it any more.

    • TMoFan

      I wonder if that’s what’s going on with me. I’ve had perfect 4G up until three weeks ago and now all I’m on is edge. Voice coverage is fine but I use data more. I called T-Mobile and they created a ticket but I’m still on edge. I suspect that the network refarming is the cause of this but I can’t confirm my suspicions with customer service (one rep didn’t even know what I talking about). If these issues are related to that I just hope it’s temporary, not permanent.

      • Guest

        Reps definitely have no idea. They can start a ticket. They did for me. When I called back a week later they told me the issue was resolved. They checked on coverage then and said I should be receiving the coverage indicated on their map. In that weeks time, the map had been updated indicating that I am now in a “moderate” coverage area (previously was in a “good”). Moderate coverage means “unusable” to people in the real world. I hope whatever the situation causing your difficulty gets resolved in your favour soon.

      • None

        Same issue with me.  I had great 3G/4G but now it is constant edge for no reason.  Began a couple weeks ago.  So irritating.

        • rene

          in what city are you guys?

  • JBrowne1012

    Isn’t the “2G Devices” Going to become “3G/4G Devices” if t-mp refarms the network? what really is the point if your phone works and will have the 3G enabled by frequency match? 

    • Tyijkykttyk

      what about remaining aws markets that dont get refarmed?they wouldnt be able to get aws frequency if they are on 2g. and they(2g phones) dont have 3g antenas(in phone)

  • Sean Leaman

    How about they actually upgrade where I’m at to something better than 2g?

  • Syedb33

    At least Tmobile is warning people before they do it. I am stuck with sprint and they are doing an upgrade to their towers in Chicago and everyone is being affected by this. EVERYONE. I would consider my self lucky to be given a heads up and an offer like this

    • Sprint found themselves screwed in Chicago because of a compatibility issue between the new equipment Samsung is installing in that market and the old Motorola network infrastructure, which is making phones drop calls and data connections like it’s going out of style… I feel for you guys, it wasn’t intentional but you are getting screwed and there’s no guarantee Sprint plans to do anything about it until they finish they upgrade early next year…

  • Which way is Up?

    My international One X and I patiently wait here in Boston, Ma…  As soon I experience a change I will post and upate the site.

  • Anton

    So if I have an unlocked iPhone, my 2G will automatically go to 3G?

  • Please answer

    So these places will have the 1900 spectrum?

  • Bronze 6

    Basically my old 2G signal is now a H signal (GNex) And best part? I get decent coverage! My Friends in NYC, get no 4G at all indoors. <3 my HSDPA ("4G") Get about 5-7 download.