Sprint confirms plans to shut down iDEN network

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: October 27, 2010

Dan Hesse Sprint CEO

Last month we learned that Sprint would soon begin migrating iDEN customers over to its CDMA network, which lead many to believe that Sprint was going to be killing off the iDEN network.  Today Sprint CEO Dan Hesse confirmed in an interview that his company will be doing just that.  Hesse said that as more and more users leave the iDEN network, they'll be able to use that newly freed up capacity for CDMA.  "There will be an end date for all 2G," Hesse said, "just like there was an end date for 1G."  Unfortunately, there's not much more information available beyond that.  Sprint hasn't set a date for when iDEN will begin to be shut down, nor have they decided just what they'll do with the 800MHz spectrum once iDEN is wiped out.  One possibility, though, is that Sprint could deploy CDMA 1X Advanced for voice services.  Hesse also touched on Sprint's 4G plans, saying that while they'll be sticking with WiMAX and Clearwire, their "Plan A," they've also got a backup "Plan B" that Hesse wouldn't elaborate on.

Sprint's iDEN network, which they purchased along with Nextel in 2004, isn't something you hear much about as of late, so it's not surprising that they would consider shutting it down in the near future.  Since CDMA is much more popular, it seems like a good idea to migrate to it and get to deploying CDMA 1X Advanced as soon as possible.  When it comes to 4G, I'm curious to know what Sprint's backup plan is.  One would guess that it involves a move to LTE, especially since Clearwire recently performed LTE tests and got download speeds of up to 90Mbps.  If Sprint does move away from WiMAX, which might be tough to do considering how much work they've put into spreading it around the country, the more-ubiquitous LTE would seem like the best option.  What do you all think Sprint should do?

Via PhoneScoop, FierceWireless