T-Mobile’s dropping support for some phones — how you can get a replacement

(Image credit: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

As phone carriers evolve over time to accommodate new technology, certain phones will get left behind. And that’s what’s about to happen at T-Mobile, where the carrier is ready to drop support for nearly 20 phones, which means customers with those devices will have to upgrade.

There’s some good news, though. The devices on T-Mobile’s list are pretty old ones. And the carrier is apparently helping affected customers by offering a choice of new phones.

All of this results from T-Mobile dropping support for any phone that isn't capable of utilizing voice over LTE (VoLTE) service in January. According to Android Police, an internal document from T-Mobile lists 19 devices, including phones, tablets, and cameras that are on the chopping block for Jan. 29. Impact devices include the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge (AT&T and Verizon versions), Google Nexus 9, Huawei Mate 8, HTC Desire 10 Lifestyle and four different Sony Xperia Z3 variants.

Most of the devices on the list look to be at least 5 years old, so they’re due for an upgrade anyhow. And apparently, starting on Dec. 28, T-Mobile will be contacting customers who have those phones to let them know they can grab a free upgrade from the carrier.

Specifically, those customers will be able to replace their aging handset with a choice of Samsung Galaxy A21, Samsung Galaxy A11, Alcatel Go Flip 3, or the T-Mobile Revvl 4. Those phones aren’t exactly cutting edge, ranging in price from $100 to $250, but at least the onus won’t be on customers to grab their own upgrades.

The promotional period for free phone upgrades officially began yesterday (Dec. 24. However, not every customer will be eligible for the free upgrade. If you're going to be impacted, it's worth contacting your T-Mobile store or representative and asking whether you'll be able to get in on the promotion. 

Some customers may instead receive offers that take $150 off of new phones, should they decide to buy a new device from T-Mobile. Reports indicate that T-Mobile employees have been advised to "stay tuned" for additional offers that will be "specifically targeted" to impacted customers.

Android Police reports that, according to T-Mobile, this promotion isn't tied to its ending support for non-VoLTE devices, though it seems awfully convenient given that certain customers with said phones are being targeted for upgrades. T-Mobile hasn’t yet made an official announcement regarding the upgrade program just yet, nor has it confirmed which customers will be eligible. 

Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.