After ting drops T Mobile, will there be a GSM?

On the search for a new phone, but being that I don't have great reception on my current CDMA phone wanted to know if I purchase a GSM phone will I have to get another new one fairly soon after or will that phone move over to another ting partnered GSM carrier?  If you cannot answer that question could I at least get a list of the supported CDMA bands so I could start a phone search with that criteria. 

 

 

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Comments

10 comments
  • Michelle, 

    CDMA compatibility isn't really judged by frequency support. The real driving force behind CDMA compatibility is Sprint's device database. Simply put, if the device serial number is in the database, it's compatible. If it's not in the database, it's not compatible.

    The reason we don't have a LTE frequency compatibility table for CDMA like we do with GSM is because of that database. It doesn't matter if a phone supports LTE 25, LTE 26 and LTE 41 (Sprint's 4G frequencies), because if it didn't get the green light from Sprint, it will never get on the network. A perfect example, if you'd like a rabbit hole to dive into, is the ZTE Axon 7. It supports all Sprint's frequencies but because Sprint said 'no', it'll never be activated.

    However, with us ending our agreement with T-Mobile, I would say that if you're happy being a TIng customer, I wouldn't buy a phone right now that only works on our GSM (T-Mobile) frequencies. If you do, when the time comes, you'll then be forced to switch carriers or switch phones. 

    Instead, I'd encourage you to buy a phone that is as compatible with as many carriers as possible. That typically includes what will end up being our two network partners Sprint (and whatever it becomes post-merger) and Verizon. 

    A few years ago, this would have been a big ask, as phones were really built for one network and compatibility with another network was an afterthought. But that's thankfully no longer the case with most new models of phone that weren't specifically designed for one network. To give you an idea of what you should look for in terms of a phone that will work on our GSM network, our CDMA network and our yet-unnamed Verizon network, keep an eye out for the following:

    • VoLTE compatibility out of the box on all networks. On T-Mobile, this includes LTE Band 12, but also means certification from Sprint, AT&T and Verizon.
    • SIM unlocked from the factory, or already unlocked when you buy it. This ensures that if something does change about your carrier or your coverage, all you'd need is a new SIM card
    • The newer the better in terms of frequency support. This one seems really rudimentary, but you'd be surprised how fast the industry changes. Getting a phone that is most-compatible with the stuff that exists now and probably will in the future means you can keep the phone longer and in turn feel better about spending maybe a bit more on it now, knowing it will survive.

    With that in mind, the phones I'd say are the best target devices for Ting right now (that is, ones that will work on all networks) include but are not limited to:

    1. Google Pixel 3/3XL/3a/3aXL. 
    2. iPhone 8/8Plus/X/XR/XS/XS+
    3. Samsung S10/S10+
    4. Motorola Moto G7+ (Retail US version, which means no dual SIMs)

    Lots of other phones will work on Ting on all networks, but at least in theory these ones should be designed to work on all 4 networks in the US, including the 2 (soon 3) that we use.

    If you have something in mind, or have a budget, let me know and I can steer you in one direction.

     

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  • I very much appreciate this very detailed answer.  The sooner finalized plans can be communicated the better so that all this uncertainty is dealt with.

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  • I absolutely agree, and as soon as we have something to share, we will. But we're still getting bits and pieces together and revealing any information before it's had time to properly cook in the proverbial oven is just asking for trouble.

    Also, in the past I've tended to ask people who work for companies what they use, and judge at least some of my decision on that. For posterity, and because I'll probably be linking this answer elsewhere because your question is one that's going to come up a LOT, I currently carry a factory unlocked Pixel 3a I purchased from Best Buy and an unlocked iPhone 8 I bought from eBay.

    I know both of these phones are good on the GSM network, as well as in Sprint's device database (you can check at ting.com/byod -- if the SIM card it points you to is anything other than the GSM X1, it's good on Sprint), and will be ready to accept Verizon SIM cards when the time comes. 

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  • Any idea on how soon Verizon will be a partner? I've recently moved to a very rural, mountainous area and even though it shows up as green on your map (meaning I should have coverage), I still have issues- like only being able to make phone calls over WiFi, for example. I've asked around town to find out what other people use and they pretty unanimously agree that Verizon works best up here, but I switched to you from them and really don't want to go back. If I have an idea of how long I will have to put up with it, I can hang on for a while longer :). 

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  • im happy to know tmo gsm will be provided until dec2020. there will probably be major changes to mobile next year but no resolution to corporate fragmentation and lack of cooperation between manufactures and network operators. ill probably switch to an iphone when the time comes. apple seems like the best of bad smartphone options.

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  • @Stephanie
    We can't announce anything until it's ready, but suffice to say we hope to light up some Verizon-Ting customers well before we start talking seriously about moving customers off the T-Mobile network. In theory that discussion has already started, but there are so many moving parts to this that we want to make sure we do it right the first time.

    @George
    What's nice is that if and when the merger DOES go through, we expect to be able to have access to the T-Mobile network through our existing Sprint agreement. What's not to like about an iPhone? I've got 3 of the darn things!

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  • best device solution would be a linux laptop with sierra card capable of connecting to any future ting bands. i believe any long term cooperation with verizon could make that work. certainly not with sprints lte restrictions on ting. life would be much easier if all i needed was an internet connection. still need a redundant telephone number though. still need a redundant physical mailbox for reams of junkmail too.

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  • That's why I always recommend a cheap hotspot for the carrier you prefer. That way it's not subject to the whims of connectivity (the Gobi 2000s can no longer connect) and you don't feel bad connecting multiple devices to it. 

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  • I have an iPhone with GSM card currently. If the change goes through and I use a CDMA card may I retain the gsm card for use when in Canada? What will be the protocol for such travel uses? (Long time til then)

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  • Hi John,

     When we cease our connection to our GSM partner it is more than likely that those GSM SIM cards will expire. The card will serve no purpose at that point so you wouldn't want to keep it. We’re still working on things in the background and we'll have solutions for everyone (including those that travel abroad) when the time comes. 

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