Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sprint's iDEN Nextel Network Set for Retirement

Sprint will cease service on its iDEN Nextel National Network as early as June 30, 2013. 

Sprint is working to transition business and government customers from its iDEN (2G) Nextel National Network onto its next-generation, push to talk service, Direct Connect, which operates on Sprint’s 3G CDMA network. The company has already discontinued selling iDEN devices in certain channels and will discontinue selling iDEN devices in all channels and all brands carrying iDEN Nextel products over the next several months.

Sprint launched its new Direct Connect PTT service in October of last year. The service provides broadband data capabilities, familiar push-to-talk features, and rugged and reliable handset options. Sprint Direct Connect coverage is expected to broaden throughout 2012. 

  • The Sprint iDEN network traces its roots to the 1987 foundation of FleetCall, which later became Nextel Communications in 1993. Sprint acquired Nextel in 2005. The Nextel network operates in the 800MHz Specialized Mobile Radio band and uses iDEN technology developed by Motorola.
  • In April, Sprint provided the following update on its Network Vision:

    Approximately 600 Network Vision sites are now on air. These are meeting speed and coverage enhancement targets.

    Zoning requirements are completed for approximately 9,700 sites and leasing agreements have been completed for close to 7,700 sites.

    More than 3,200 sites are in notice to proceed status and work has started on approximately 3,000.

    Sprint expects to bring approximately 12,000 sites on air by the end of 2012 and to complete the majority of its Network Vision roll-out in 2013.

    Approximately 1,300 iDEN sites have been taken off air to date. Sprint expects to shut down a total of 9,600 before the end of the third quarter.

    Sprint expects to launch 4G LTE in six major cities by mid-year 2012 including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Atlanta, Kansas City and Baltimore.

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