Usually when we hear of a carrier making changes to their network, they're adding more towers to increase coverage. Sprint has announced that will be doing the opposite, though, decreasing the number of their cell sites from 66,000 to 46,000. However, the decrease in towers is part of a larger plan by Sprint to overhaul their network, replacing many of their current cell sites with ones that have higher power outputs and will help increase the building penetration of its 1900 MHz spectrum. The change will also give Sprint the ability to upgrade the stations with CDMA 1X for voice and data, EV-DO, WiMAX, and even LTE via a simple software upgrade. In addition, Sprint is planning to migrate its iDEN customers to CDMA over the long-term, offering iDEN users a similar push-to-talk option for use over CDMA that is said to be of similar quality compared to the network that they already know and love. With the move and the shrinking number of iDEN customers, Sprint hopes to eventually move some of its CDMA operations over to the 800 MHz band.
This is pretty big news for Sprint customers, especially those that still rely on the iDEN network to get work done. Luckily, Sprint isn't forcing iDEN customers to migrate to the CDMA network, and will continue to support them until they decide what to do. These new upgradeable cell sites sound pretty awesome, especially since it gives Sprint the versatility to continue with their WiMAX buildout or switch to LTE if they feel the need. All in all, this seems like a good move by Sprint that will help the carrier grow and compete in the coming years.