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Sprint Making Good on June 29 iDen Shutdown

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 9:22am
Andrew Berg

The shutdown of Sprint's iDen network has been a longtime in coming and is very near at hand, according to the company. Sprint today confirmed that the last full day of iDEN service will be June 29, with a shutdown that begins first thing Sunday, June 30 and continuing throughout the day. 

Sprint had previously announced plans on May 29, 2012 to cease service on the iDEN Nextel National Network as early as June 30, 2013, as part of its Network Vision plan. 

Since then, Sprint has been aggressively notifying customers to migrate from the iDEN Nextel National Network to avoid service disruptions. The notifications have included customer letters, legal notifications, and email reminders. Sprint added iDEN shutdown reminder text messages and will use other communications tactics during the network’s final days of operation.

In a recent earnings call, CEO Dan Hesse said in an earnings call that postpaid subscriber growth on the Sprint platform continued to benefit from better than expected recapture rates of Nextel customers.

Sprint is hoping customers migrate from the iDen service to the company's IP-based Direct Connect service, which Sprint bills as having three times the push-to-talk coverage compared that iDen has. 

As part of its Network Vision project, Sprint plans to use the 800 MHz iDEN spectrum for its LTE network, which currently uses its 1900 MHz holdings. It plans to use carrier aggregation to bond the two swaths of spectrum into a single channel for its LTE network.

Sprint has been fighting to keep every last one of those iDen subscribers as they leave the network. AT&T launched a competing IP-base push-to-talk service back in September of 2012.

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