T-Mobile Announces New 3G Shutdown Date - L5 VoLTE Required

Just recently, T-Mobile announced a new date for their 3G network shutdown, which is: July 1, 2022

With 3G cellular networks shutting down soon, the Librem 5 really needs VoLTE (4G-calling) capabilities enabled ASAP, or else phone calls simply won’t work for L5 owners, due to L5 phone calls still using older 3G protocols.

“The Un-Carrier published an official network retirement page on its website. According to the website, the Sprint shutdown date continues to follow the original date. But T-Mo has moved its T-Mobile 3G UMTS network shutdown date from October to July 1, 2022.”

“As of July 1, 2022 T-Mobile’s older 3G UMTS network will be retired”




AT&T is scheduled for Feb 2022, but has been disabling customer access for months. They send a minimal cost phone for no-charge, and they automatically disable network access. Access(for your 3g phone) gets disabled after using the replacement, or automatically after 30 days regardless if you don’t.


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Well, that’s disappointing. Verizon is also unusable, correct? So, without VoLTE support, I just dropped 2k on a Pocket computer.

Well,… if you look at it differently… The troubling feature that has serious privacy issues that can’t be patched will be disabled in order to make your device more secure. Or, maybe it’s just a wrong place to be: you just need to move where there are better (3G) networks - like, south of the equator. Maybe that could be called “tech-migrant” or “librem-refugee”? :wink:

But seriously, there was talk in another thread about what Fir might be now. One point, that I think that was missed from the list of memory upgrades, was that I should have antennas that support 5G, so that the modem can be upgraded to that for future proofing.

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The USA version is supposed to have the PLS8 modem, which I think advertises VoLTE support. That card should still be in the works, and nobody is stopping anyone from creating a card for all Librem 5 devices that features the modem that the PinePhone uses.

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The BM818 already has VoLTE support too.

For either modem, it is “just” a case of when it works and when it doesn’t work - and reducing the latter.

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I know The USA version was advertised as coming with the Pls8 modem when I purchased mine, but I don’t know if it’s been confirmed if that is how they are being shipped.

PLs8 is not shown as a modem option on the USA buy it now page currently.

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Months ago, I asked Purism support about the PLS8 modem, and they said that I can note on my order to hold it until the PLS8 modem is available. I was hoping that they were working on it during the Librem 5 (not USA) downtime, but since the Librem 5 USA and PLS8 modem share the same facility, it makes more sense that they would have more time working on the modem after all USA orders ship. This is just speculation. Hopefully they can do both at the same time, especially after new investment funds, assuming that they also have employees to make everything (given the pandemic). I ended up choosing not the place the order until they add the option in the store. That should be simpler for them to keep track of, and I do not need to be first in line for this one.

@matt2, FYI, I just received my address confirmation email for my L5USA. (woot woot) looks like I’m going to get the BM818-A1 modem.


It would be nice to hear anything from Purism at this point about the PLS8.

According to the Community Wiki the phone should fallback to 2G when receiving a call and 3G is not available. This of course does not help anyone in the US much, as according to this “sunset” list T-Mobile is planning on shutting down 2G on December 31, 2022 - just six extra months.

For Germany, the home of the T-Mobile brand (Deutsche Telekom), the situation is very different: 3G was switched off on June 30th this year, but to continually support the use of older phones Telekom announces to keep 2G running (no end date mentioned). I think the situation is similar in many European countries (like in France, where according to the aforementioned sunset list GSM/2G should be available until 2030).

I already noticed my current Android phone is dropping back to 2G when I’m making a phone call. This is not great, if you want to use Internet access at the same time… but this is rarely the case for me, so I can well live with it.

Being able to still use these really old phones is nice, and that’s the way it should be! My mum is still using Nokia phones from 2009 and before… and when recently I held one in my hand I could not help but wonder how compact, light, and robust they feel. At the same time their battery lasts for days. I’m already considering such an old-timer as a companion to my future Librem 5 (order confirmation October 28, 2017, still hoping for a delivery this year). Then I’d only turn on the Librem 5 when I need it, more like with other computers.

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The phone currently fails to fallback to 2G … see the following thread for more details

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