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Sprint today offered some more details on its plans for decommissioning its iDEN network, including a date on which it could completely shut it down. Sprint has announced that it plans to cease service on its iDEN network as early as June 30, 2013, and that it plans to begin notifying business and government customers of the shutdown on June 1 of this year and will continue to send notices as the shutdown nears. The carrier also notes that it's already begun discontinuing sales of iDEN devices in some channels and that it plans to stop iDEN product sales completely in the coming months. Customers that already own iDEN devices will receive support from Sprint to help transition them to its CDMA Direct Connect service.

Sprint has already begun decommissioning some iDEN towers in various parts of the country, but this is the first news that the carrier has given concerning a shutdown date for the entire network. Once it takes the iDEN network down, Sprint is planning to use the spectrum to deploy LTE coverage in its place, which it plans to begin doing by 2014. That's still a ways off, but with today's announcement and last week's news that the FCC has given Sprint the go-ahead to roll out LTE on the 800MHz band, the pieces are beginning to fall into place for Sprint to utilize the spectrum currently used by its iDEN network to help expand its upcoming LTE coverage. You can find Sprint's full press release for today's news down below.

Sprint to cease service on its iDEN network as early as June 30, 2013; Company continues to facilitate migration of iDEN customers to Sprint Direct Connect Service

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), May 29, 2012 - Sprint today announced plans to transition business and government customers from its iDEN (2G) Nextel National Network onto Sprint® Direct Connect® -- its next-generation, push to talk service, which operates on Sprint’s 3G CDMA network. Sprint also announced that it plans to cease service on the iDEN Nextel National Network as early as June 30, 2013 as part of its Network Vision plan -- a series of network updates designed to offer next generation network capabilities to customers.

Sprint will send written notices to business and government customers beginning June 1, 2012 regarding the iDEN Nextel National Network shutdown. The company will continue to notify customers of favorable offers designed to facilitate a smooth migration to Sprint® Direct Connect®. Additional notices are planned for distribution to the iDEN base multiple times over the next year as the shutdown of the iDEN Nextel National Network becomes more imminent.

Sprint launched Sprint Direct Connect, the industry’s newest PTT gold standard, in October of last year. The service provides broadband data capabilities, familiar push-to-talk features, and rugged and reliable handset options. Sprint Direct Connect coverage is expected to broaden throughout 2012.

Over the past eight months, Sprint has announced four rugged Sprint Direct Connect handsets catering to push-to-talk users including the Kyocera DuraMax, Kyocera DuraCore, Kyocera DuraPlus and the Motorola Admiral™. Last month, Sprint made International Direct Connect? available on its Sprint Direct Connect devices, expanding the reach of push to talk capabilities to and from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Chile.

Network Vision represents a nationwide update of the Sprint network using the newest, most-advanced equipment in the industry. Sprint plans to consolidate multiple network technologies into one seamless network with the goal of increasing efficiency and enhancing network coverage, call quality and data speeds for customers.

Network Vision is expected to add net economic value for Sprint from reduced roaming costs, cell site reduction, backhaul efficiencies, more efficient use of capital, and energy costs savings. Sprint anticipates that iDEN Nextel National Network push to talk functionality will become inoperable as early as June 30, 2013; however, Sprint CDMA voice and data services on PowerSource devices (dual mode iDEN and CDMA devices) will still be available. The company has already discontinued selling iDEN devices in certain channels. It will discontinue selling iDEN devices in all channels and all brands carrying iDEN Nextel products over the next several months. Sprint will continue to support customers with iDEN devices during the network transition and will work with those customers to ease their transition to Sprint’s CDMA service.

For more information:

Sprint Direct Connect, www.sprint.com/sprintdirectconnect

Network Vision, www.sprint.com/network

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 56 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2012 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, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 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.


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