Sprint shutters iDEN network to clear spectrum for 4G2012.05.30 08:42 by Daniela
Tags: Sprint, iDEN, 4G
Sprint Nextel plans to shut down its narrowband iDEN network as early as June 30, 2013, the company revealed on Tuesday. Previously, Sprint has said it would support the network until 2013. Ending the service enables the company to use the airwaves for more advanced services, such as the high-speed mobile broadband network known as 4G LTE.
About 5.4 million customers used the iDEN network as of the end of September, according to a Sprint spokesman. Of those users, 3.8 million are post-paid users with the remainder being pre-paid.
The iDEN network, classified as 2G, uses handsets that provide the iconic Nextel "chirp" sound that was central to Nextel's service when the two companies merged. Customers will have to switch to new handsets as the network is shut down, although the new devices will provide the same functionality with new features and the "chirp" sound is also being preserved.
Sprint says CDMA voice and data services will still be available on PowerSource devices - dual mode iDEN and CDMA. It's already stopped selling iDEN devices in certain channels, and will halt sales altogether over the next few months.
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