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Sprint has said several times now that they plan to slowly phase out their iDEN network and completely shut it down in 2013, but a new announcement from Sprint shows that they're not ready to shutter iDEN just yet.  In a press release sent out recently, Sprint announced that they've reached an agreement with Motorola that will extend support for the aging iDEN network through 2013.  Not only will the two companies continue to support iDEN, but they'll also be releasing two new compatible handsets in the first quarter of 2011, with more planned for the future.  The two new devices are the Motorola i886, which Sprint claims is the first iDEN phone with a horizontal-sliding QWERTY and corporate email support, and the i686, which can withstand being submerged in a meter of water for 30 minutes.  Check out the full release below.

It's kind of strange to see Sprint ink a deal to support their iDEN network through 2013 when they've been so active in announcing that it'll be soon shut down, but I'm sure that all of the customers out there that are humming along with their iDEN phones are happy to hear the news.  Now that Sprint and Motorola are going to continue to support iDEN through 2013, you have to wonder how that affects Sprint's other plans.  They've said in the past that they plan to move some CDMA operations to the iDEN network, so do they still plan to do that at some point in the future?  When 2013 comes around, will they finally phase iDEN out or will another company, perhaps even Moto again, come along to support it? 

Sprint Extends iDEN® Network Infrastructure Supply Agreement with Motorola Solutions for Three Additional Years

Extension agreement, including maintenance support, reinforces Sprint's commitment to iDEN customers through 2013

Two new iDEN handsets announced for availability in the first quarter; Additional devices planned for 2011

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. & SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (BUSINESS WIRE), December 21, 2010 - Sprint (NYSE: S) and the Motorola Solutions business of Motorola (NYSE: MOT) today announced an agreement to extend Motorola's support of the Sprint iDEN network for three additional years. Extending this longstanding agreement reflects both companies' commitment to iDEN technology as a best-in-class platform for push-to-talk (PTT) services. This agreement formally extends Sprint and Motorola Solutions' contractual iDEN relationship through 2013 and covers the supply of software and services.

"This agreement is great news for our iDEN customers," said Bob Azzi, senior vice president of Network, Sprint. "The Nextel National Network continues to be the nation's fastest push-to-talk network, and it is operating at best-ever performance levels. Additionally, this agreement provides support for our important iDEN customer base while we begin executing our Network Vision plan."

"Motorola has been a proud partner with Sprint in delivering the industry's best PTT service for more than 17 years," said Mike Fox, general manager, iDEN Products and Solutions, Motorola Solutions. "We're pleased to continue partnering with Sprint to support their iDEN network through 2013, and we're equally excited about the launch of additional iDEN devices for Sprint PTT customers."

Today Sprint also announced that several new and exciting iDEN handsets will be available in the first quarter of 2011. Motorola i886 is a stylish yet rugged phone, boasting the first-ever side-sliding QWERTY keyboard and corporate e-mail on an iDEN device. In addition, the popular Motorola i680 will be updated as Motorola i686 with the capacity to be immersed in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Pricing, availability and full feature lists will be available at a later date.

As with all Sprint iDEN handsets, customers can use Nextel Direct Connect on Nextel phones in and between Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Peru. In addition, customers can use Nextel Direct Connect from the United States to these six countries.

"In line with Motorola Solutions' ongoing support of the iDEN network, Motorola Mobility is committed to working with Sprint," said Mark Shockley, senior vice president, Motorola Mobility. "We look forward to bringing exciting new devices to market, including compelling next-generation push-to-talk solutions in the coming year."

Network Vision is a blueprint for a multiyear initiative intended to provide customers the best network experience available today, enhancing service, creating network flexibility, reducing operating costs, and improving environmental sustainability. The focus of the plan is on upgrading the existing CDMA network while providing technology flexibility for the Sprint 4G platform.

Taking advantage of this latest generation of technology, Sprint will be able to deploy multiple spectrum bands on a single platform – for example, 800MHz and 1900MHz on CDMA. This will improve CDMA in-building penetration and ensure the performance of PTT on CDMA matches or surpasses that of iDEN.

KEY FACTS

* Under the extended Infrastructure Supply Agreement, Motorola Solutions will continue to support the Sprint iDEN network for three years – from Jan. 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2013.
* Motorola Solutions will continue to provide world-class support for software, hardware and systems on the existing Sprint iDEN network.
* Customers will benefit from the same level of high performance services, including industry-leading PTT, mobile telephony, messaging and Internet access.
* Motorola Solutions has more than 17 years of experience supporting the Sprint iDEN network.

SUPPORTING RESOURCES

Click here for more information on Sprint's iDEN network, products and services.

Click here for more information on Motorola's iDEN network solution portfolio.

About Motorola

Motorola Solutions is a leading provider of business- and mission-critical communication products and services for enterprise and government customers. Through leading-edge innovation and communications technology, it is a global leader that enables its customers to be their best in the moments that matter. Starting Jan. 4, 2011, Motorola Solutions will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "MSI." Please visit our media center or subscribe to our news feed.

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 48.8 million customers at the end of the third quarter of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands, including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, Common Cents Mobile and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation's greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

Via Engadget


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