Sprint’s iDEN Network Shut Down Is Under Way

Posted by at 9:27 am on July 1, 2013

Sprint has been begin shutting its iDEN network down since Sunday at 12:01 AM June 30 EST.

According to Sprint spokesperson Mark Bonavia, the network will be shut down in stages from the east coast to the west coast. The network will be turned off completely, which means that any customers still using iDEN-based equipment will lose all access to Sprint’s network, including 911 emergency services. Customers who have not yet switched to CDMA-based products are strongly urged to do so immediately.

Bonavia noted that the vast majority of former iDEN customers have updated their service, but some stragglers remain. He did not provide an exact number. Sprint first notified customers of its intent to stop operating the iDEN network more than a year ago. Once the network shutdown begins, Sprint will immediately start to disassemble and repurpose the cell towers and base stations used to operate its iDEN network. Many, but not all, of the sites will be re-used in favor of Sprint’s LTE network, which it will begin to deploy in the 800MHz spectrum vacated by the defunct iDEN network.

Bonavia said that the first iDEN base stations will light up with LTE before the end of the year. Bonavia said the exact locations and timing will be determined in an on-going basis. Sprint acquired the iDEN network when it merged with Nextel in 2007. The iDEN network has long provided walkie-talkie services via push-to-talk technology.

Sprint has since duplicated the iDEN PTT service with its own CDMA-based DirectConnect service.

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