T-Mobile has successfully acquired Sprint from April 1, becoming a single company and increasing the total number of major US cellular carriers from four up to three. At least for now. And since August 3, the Sprint brand is officially no longer.
If you were a Sprint customer or are on T-Mobile, you might be wondering how this merger is affecting you. We contacted the “new T-Mobile” to get answers straight from the mouth of the magenta horse. T-Mobile says the acquisition will promote improved coverage and data speeds for Americans, but it’s important to remember that critics say there’s no clear way to hold the operator accountable for its promises and that higher prices may be inevitable.
Update for September: We have added new details following the death of the Sprint brand.
So am I on Sprint or T-Mobile?
You’re on T-Mobile – the Sprint brand was officially discontinued on August 3 – but you’ll still be using your original carrier’s network for now. Sprint subscribers who are in an area where Sprint does not have LTE coverage will automatically connect to T-Mobile’s LTE network (the reverse is do not true if you are on T-Mobile). Eventually the two networks will merge and everyone on T-Mobile and those who came from Sprint will see more coverage.
Do I have to pay more?
Part of the deal to acquire T-Mobile is that it would not raise prices for three years. should not see any price increase until 2023. As to what happens after that, we’ll have to wait and see.
How does billing work for Sprint subscribers?
If you’re going to pay your Sprint bill, you might be redirected to T-Mobile. You can still pay your bill on Sprint.com, but if you go to the T-Mobile website, you can click on my account and log in with your Sprint login credentials. You will be redirected to the MySprint dashboard.
What about my sprint plan?
Nothing changes with your Sprint plan. You can continue to add new lines or change your rate if you wish. Or you can switch to T-Mobile. Transferring your service does not count as a new account, so you will not get all the additional benefits of a new T-Mobile customer. You will also need to first fully repay your Sprint phone and meet any other financial obligations you have on your Sprint account.
Can I access T-Mobile or Sprint benefits or promotions?
The two operators have long offered certain advantages to their respective subscribers, such as streaming services bundled into packages. For example, T-Mobile has “Netflix on Us” and Sprint offers Hulu. Right now, you can’t access the other operator’s perks or promotions, but expect some sort of universal promotion in the future.
The exception is T-Mobile Tuesdays, the app that offers free stuff and deals every Tuesday from various partners. If you were on Sprint, you can download the app and access these freebies just like T-Mobile customers.
Are Sprint phones compatible on T-Mobile?
Sprint uses a CDMA network, while T-Mobile uses GSM. Historically, this meant that Sprint phones did not perform well on other wireless carriers, like AT&T and T-Mobile (with a few exceptions). That’s still true for now: Buying a phone from Sprint doesn’t mean it will work on T-Mobile’s network. You might just see extended roaming capabilities if Sprint’s coverage is bad in a specific area.
T-Mobile says it is working on a unified GSM device portfolio in the future so that any new phone will work on the new T-Mobile’s full network. Our recommendation is to buy an unlocked phone, which supports GSM and usually includes Sprint network support. (You can find our favorites in our Best Android Phones, Best cheap phones, and Best iPhones guides.)
What about 5G?
Sprint had a lot of value midline wireless spectrum, allowing 5G service which is faster than existing 4G LTE speeds and can travel a fair distance. (It can also pass through walls, which is an issue for some 5G signals, like millimeter wave.) T-Mobile now owns this spectrum and has already started rolling it out in cities like Philadelphia. T-Mobile and Sprint customers using a 5G phone will gradually start to see faster data speeds. This deployment will take years, so don’t expect significantly faster speeds anytime soon. To qualify, you’ll also need to purchase a new phone that supports 5G.