Sprint sign

100 million pounds of unusable materials will be recycled as part of iDEN shutdown

As previously announced, Sprint is scheduled to shut down its Nextel iDEN network on June 30 -- starting immediately at 12:01am. Voice (including 911), push-to-talk, and data services will cease functioning. The last full day of service for iDEN customers will be June 29. During these final days, Sprint is pushing hard to get all users migrated over to Sprint's Direct Connect service, which they say has 'three times the push-to-talk coverage area compared to iDEN.'

What happens when networks die? In iDEN's case, it is going to the big recycle bin in the sky. Sprint announced today that all the equipment it can't reuse will be recycled, adding up to 100 million pounds of network gear and other materials. This move in the decommissioning plan will save landfills from having to absorb the iDEN network's remnants, which includes cables, batteries, radios, server racks, and air conditioners. Concrete shelters will be recycled into composite for roads and bridges.

The full press release about the decommissioning of the iDEN Nextel National Network and Sprint's 'environmental stewardship' can be found after the break.

Source: Sprint

June 05, 2013

iDEN Nextel National Network on Schedule to Shut Down June 30

100 million pounds of network gear and other materials to be saved from landfills as part of decommissioning

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), June 05, 2013 - Sprint remains on schedule to decommission the iDEN Nextel National Network beginning at 12:01 am Eastern time on June 30. iDEN devices will then no longer receive voice service – including 911 calls and push-to-talk– or data service. Sprint will shut down switch locations in rapid succession on June 30, followed by powering down equipment and eliminating backhaul at each cell site. The last full day of iDEN service for active users will be June 29.

Sprint announced plans in the fourth quarter of 2010 to phase out the iDEN Nextel National Network as part of its Network Vision plan. The company declared on May 29, 2012, that it planned to cease service on the network as early as June 30, 2013. During the past year, Sprint has extensively notified customers of the impending shutdown and encouraged early migration from the iDEN Nextel National Network to avoid service disruptions. The notifications have included customer letters, legal notifications, email reminders, voicemails and text messages. The company will use other communications tactics during the network’s final days of operation.

“We strongly urge customers to migrate now to the Sprint Nationwide CDMA network to avoid losing service,” said Bob Azzi, Sprint senior vice president-Network.

Customers who migrate to Sprint® Direct Connect® experience three times the push-to-talk coverage area compared to iDEN and can take advantage of International Direct Connect’s reach to Latin American countries and 3G broadband data capabilities.

“Sprint Direct Connect is a gold standard in push-to-talk,” Azzi said. “It comes with the broadband capabilities that businesses and public safety pros need for business applications and social media capabilities on Sprint’s broadband CDMA network.”

Recycling 100 million pounds of materials as part of iDEN shutdown

Sprint will recycle nearly all of the iDEN network equipment that it can’t reuse – including cables, batteries, even the concrete shelters that many iDEN cell sites occupy. The projected result of the effort is a staggering amount of recycled network gear and other materials weighing more than 100 million pounds.

Sprint will gut hundreds of cell sites of obsolete iDEN equipment -- from radios to server racks, antennas to air conditioners -- and will stage it all for recycling vendors. Most concrete shelters that house iDEN cell sites will be crushed and turned into composite for roads and bridges. Sites where CDMA and LTE equipment is co-located will be left intact, minus the iDEN gear.

When decommissioning of the iDEN network is complete, nearly 30,000 iDEN installations will be taken off air. The iDEN recycling project is expected to continue into early 2014.

“Recycling a nationwide wireless network is a huge undertaking, but one that we’re committed to,” Azzi said. “The company has earned a reputation for environmental stewardship. The iDEN recycling effort extends our commitment.”

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 55 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2013 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. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint as the most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all 47 industries, during the last five years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in both its 2011 and 2012 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.


Reader comments

Sprint's iDEN network is going to a better place June 30


Do they not know how many users are still on iden? Seems like they should just give those users a free replacement phone and be done with it.

Most IDEN users are eligible to get a phone at $0.99. The majority of hold outs in our area are older customers who fight change.

They absolutely know how many users are still on iDEN, and have been aggressively running programs to get those customers off of those devices and onto 3G/LTE ones instead. They've been actively offering deals and getting people moved over since this time last year (and even earlier).

Sprint has implemented push to talk features over the new network and offered upgrades for free or very cheap on most cases. So that seems pretty good to me

So what? It's not like those users haven't been given plenty of notice the shutdown was coming. Sprint's been communicating that fact for a long time now. If they've chosen to ignore those communications and not to migrate to Sprint DC or some other option it's their choice.

As the last bits of iDEN are swept away, Sprint can finally begin to recognize the silver lining that was supposed to be the Nextel merger - spectrum. Now they can refarm all that low end bandwidth for LTE and CDMA to the benefit of the rest of their customer base.

I sure heard a lot of iDen chirps at Disney World last year. It will be interesting to see what they replace it with.

Every time a phone chirps, baby Jesus kills a kitten by stuffing it live down the throat of a dead baby seal.

I heard they are giving a free phone. I really hope this speeds up the 4g LTE process in Columbus Ohio and other areas

KC was the first to get LTE from sprint, being its HQ, I live in St.Louis and they still haven't brought LTE here yet. They have branched out to smaller communities in MO that are like 50 K or less just outside of KC. I was hoping it would go faster branching out. If I get pushed off unlimited from VZW I will go to sprint, like my friends.

Not completely true Mwara, LTE is already in some STL areas and I know this because I also live here. Most of the 4G LTE signal comes around the airport and isn't very stable because its just tests. Its also in some places in Chesterfield. Also the Galleria. But shortly after being on it, it cut off. LTE in STL is gonna come any day now. I have a problem because I live in St. Charles , haven't gotten any LTE signal ever. But 3G has improved

Hallelujah. Time to repurpose that spectrum. And it's great that they are recycling all that old equipment.

As someone that helped build up the iDEN network over the years it's bittersweet to see it go away.

Most people don't realize that the iDEN network back in the early days paved the way for mobile packet radio by being the first carrier to go 2.5g back in 1999 with the i1000+ phone. The iDEN network in it's hay day was ahead of it's time, the merger killed it. That's not to say iDEN would still be going strong, but it was based on GSM and it might have go HSDPA if Sprint didn't buy it.

i1000 is still the best phone I have ever owned. Tore the flip part off of it and still used it for another 5 months! Loved that phone.

Still no 4G and Sprint is embracing shutting down another part of their slow network. We seem to be going in the wrong direction Sprint unless you tell me you will 2x the speed of 4G deployment now.

You have got to be kidding me? The network the iDEN runs on(800MHZ) Will be used by Sprint for it's voice/3G/4G... You need to read up son before you post something like this. iDEN here has been shutdown because there are no users in my city and they have turned on Voice 800. So My service has improved a great ton.

You really do need to look up what you're claiming before posting it. Sprint hasn't sold a single iDen capable device for at least the past 1.5 years, since this has been in the works for the past 2, if not more. Just like how Sprint stopped selling any Wimax capable devices early last year so in 2014 or so, when most people re-up their contracts with a new phone or leave, Sprint will take that network down and refarm it for LTE. Further, it has been stated many times over that Sprint will refarm the 800mHz spectrum (which carries signal farther than the higher frequencies Sprint currently uses) the iDen network used to help rollout LTE, with future devices more than likely able to do VoLTE (Voice over LTE).

What you may not know or care to look up info on is that they remnant spectrum from iden will be repurposed for use on the 4g network and therefore make it better. So no, they are not going in the wrong direction. Tmobile is shutting down metropcs 3g and only keeping the lte part for their network... so companies do this all the time.

Haters gotta hate. You forgot to bitch about the $10 4g fee though... I guess you're off your troll game today.

Should have been done years ago.Keeping NexTel's iDEN network going this long basically locked Sprint into last-place when it came to upgrading & deploying a modern 4G network.

Even with their slow data in some areas sprint has managed to stay afloat and do some good things. They are a really green company and have been aggressively improving their network which was horrible where I live and now its at least usable. One thing I never complained about sprint is call quality. I have always had a good call signal with rarely any dropped calls if any. Just the other day I was using a verizon phone and I have to say, the call sounded like crap. I tried on 2 phones since I thought it was the phone and nope, it was verizon.
I hope they continue the improvements. They have until end of year before I decide who to jump ship to. I will be testing tmobile in the coming months.

Yes call quality has always been really good in my experience. People often say they thought I was on a landline.

My service is a complete mess but I'm holding out to keep my unlimited Data when this network vision is complete... But man it's brutal for me getting 28.8 speeds. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel though.

Or probably not... How shit can a mobile network be especially in the USA? I get better speed in even in India where the networks are horrible...

I left Sprint for 6 months after 11 years due to a billing dispute. Went to Verizon and got double billed EVERY single month. No joke. I am so glad to be back. I think Sprint is going to come out on top at the end of the day. I just hope they don't pick up too many of Verizon's habits. I'm so glad they're finally getting their act together network wise. I worked for Sprint's tech support for 3 years. I can tell you that being on both sides of the phone can really teach you a lot. Some of the areas where they were doing the heaviest work really saw some major dropped calls and slow data, but when an area was done the feedback was pretty ecstatic. I live in Raleigh/Durham NC and the 4g around my place is pretty impressive....especially when I've tried tethering and did speed tests. I'm familiar with STL. My family is there. They'll be done soon.