T-Mobile has been hit with a proposed class action over its alleged failure to disclose to customers following its merger with Sprint that it intended to shut down older networks without addressing the incompatibility of certain devices with the new T-Mobile 5G framework.
The 28-page lawsuit was filed by a Washington consumer who alleges many Sprint-connected 5G devices, including but not limited to the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, HTC 5G Hub, OnePlus 7 Pro 5G and various other tablets and security systems (the “class devices”), have or will become “wholly unusable” as the older 3G, 4G LTE and 5G Sprint and 3G T-Mobile networks get shut down.
Per the case, T-Mobile’s failure to disclose that these devices, many of which were marketed as 5G-enabled, would be incompatible with T-Mobile’s 5G network amounts to a “serious omission” given customers would no longer benefit from “massive improvements in download speed” and lower latency once Sprint’s 5G network was shut down.
“Defendant’s failure to disclose the defect at the time of purchase is material because no reasonable consumer expects to spend more for a device whose advertised and differentiating features will be rendered useless in a few months’ time or otherwise before its reasonable anticipated lifespan,” the complaint reads.
Moreover, the suit claims T-Mobile, who touted its 5G network as able to deliver “coverage and mobility with blazing fast download speeds,” has been unwilling to acknowledge, much less remedy, the problem.
According to the lawsuit, T-Mobile marketed to consumers that its 5G network would “give Sprint customers a truly mobile 5G experience” in all nine market areas in the United States. Before the merger with T-Mobile was final, the suit relays, Sprint pitched that the joining of the carriers would allow them to “accelerate the deployment of a ubiquitous, nationwide 5G network that includes coverage in rural locations.”
Within months of touting the deployment of a 5G Sprint network, T-Mobile shut down the network, leaving approximately 75,000 Sprint 5G phones without the ability to receive a 5G signal, the case says. Rather than receive free upgrades, Sprint device owners were left to switch their phone and phone plan over to T-Mobile at their own expense, the lawsuit states.
Per the suit, even though many of the devices at issue are equipped with a 5G-enabled modem, their incompatibility with T-Mobile’s 5G network limits their capabilities to what is available on 4G LTE-only devices. Consumers who bought a 5G-enabled phone paid a premium to benefit from the touted improvements in download speed and lower latency offered by 5G networks, the case stresses.
“Rather than achieving download speeds 100 times faster on a 5G network, to a top speed of 20 gigabytes per second, owners of 5G devices will be limited to a max download speed of 100 megabytes per second, with real world performance topping out at 35 megabytes per second,” according to the lawsuit. “Latency, too, increases between the two networks, from one millisecond on a 5G network to fifty milliseconds on a 4G network.”
Overall, T-Mobile is accused of failing to adequately warn customers that certain devices and contracts would become useless before the reasonably expected end of their lifespans. Proposed class members, the suit says, have been locked into their contracts without being transitioned free of charge to T-Mobile’s network.
“Selling 5G data plans, in particular, with a limited shelf life and Class Devices unable to connect to existing 5G and other networks is a fraud on consumers,” the lawsuit alleges. “Sprint and T-Mobile refuse to honor their commitment to their loyal customers and are forcing customers to bear the expense of their mistakes and malfeasance.”
The case looks to cover all persons or entities in the United States who are current or former owners and/or lessees of any of the devices highlighted at the top of the page.
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