Sprint's iDEN network officially shutting down tomorrow, many cell sites to be repurposed for 4G LTEAlex Wagner - Editorial Director of News and Content
After first warning us of its plans to shut down its iDEN network way back in 2010, Sprint has confirmed once again that it'll be cutting the iDEN cord on June 30. That's tomorrow, and Sprint says that it won't be wasting any time giving iDEN the axe, explaining that the shutdown will begin at 12:01 a.m. EST. A Sprint spokesperson has told PhoneScoop that the service will be turned off in stages from the east coast to the west coast. Once the network does go down, any remaining iDEN customers (there are apparently still a few) will lose all service as well as their existing phone numbers.
Sprint won't be wasting any time in putting the former iDEN towers to better use after the network's gone, saying that it plans to "immediately" begin the process or repurposing many of them for use with its 4G LTE network. Those cell sites will pump out LTE service using the 800MHz spectrum that iDEN currently occupies, and Sprint expects the first iDEN towers to begin sending LTE airwaves to customers before 2013 is up.
The push-to-talk service that iDEN provides may not be something that every wireless customer needs, but it is still an important feature that's got a following of users, including those in the enterprise. That's why Sprint crafted a CDMA-based Direct Connect service to replace iDEN. This enables Sprint to retain a push-to-talk offering while simultaneously repurposing its iDEN cell sites for use with its growing LTE network, which I'm sure many of consumers are clamoring to see roll into their hometowns.