Sprint has been planning to shut down its iDEN service as part of its Network Vision project since late 2010, and now the carrier has confirmed that it's on track to give iDEN the axe on June 30, 2013. The final day of full iDEN service will be on June 29, with the shut down expected to begin "first thing" on June 30. Devices that access the iDEN network will lose both voice and data services (including 911 calls) on that date as Sprint shuts down its switch locations, powers down equipment and eliminates the backhaul at each cell site.
Since it announced its intent to shut down the iDEN network, Sprint has been notifying its iDEN customers of its plans and urging them to switch to its Direct Connect service, which is a similar push-to-talk (PTT) offering. Sprint says that its Direct Connect service currently offers three times the PTT coverage of the iDEN network as well as 3G data connectivity. Any customers that are still on the iDEN network should've already received email and text notifications of the impending shutdown from Sprint, and the carrier says that it'll continue to reach out to iDEN users during the network's final days of operation.
The shutdown of the iDEN network may not seem like it means much to non-PTT Sprint subscribers, but those users should eventually benefit from of the end of iDEN. In addition to the increased backhaul efficiency and energy cost savings that will come with Network Vision, Sprint has said that it plans to repurpose its 800MHz iDEN spectrum for use with its 4G LTE network. The deployment of LTE on the 800MHz spectrum isn't expected to happen until sometime in 2014, but hey, it's always good to hear that a carrier's got more LTE on the way.