Sprint announced today that service on its iDEN network will cease as early as June 30, 2013, and that it will begin transitioning customers to its Direct Connect service in the coming months. The transition is part of the carrier's "Network Vision" and will allow Sprint to reassign its 2G spectrum, which currently supports the iDEN network, for its upcoming LTE rollout. Sprint will begin contacting government and business customers shorty urging them to make the move, and will discontinue selling iDEN products over the next few months. If your heart is set on beep-beeping your way into 2013, Sprint's Motorola Admiral is a fine Android-powered choice. Sprint's full presser can be found after the break.


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, 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:

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 atwww.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint andwww.twitter.com/sprint.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995

* This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the securities laws. The statements in this news release regarding network performance, coverage and capabilities, business and network efficiencies, migration of services new technologies, timing of deployment, and products and services, as well as other statements that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements. The words “estimate,” “project,” “forecast,” intend,” “expect,” “should,” “believe,” “target,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are estimates and projections reflecting management’s judgment based on currently available information and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements. With respect to these forward-looking statements, management has made assumptions regarding, among other things, development and deployment of new technologies; efficiencies and cost savings of multimode technologies; customer and network usage; customer growth and retention; service, coverage and quality; availability of devices; the timing of various events and the economic environment. Sprint Nextel believes these forward-looking statements are reasonable; however, you should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which are based on current expectations and speak only as of the date of this release. Sprint Nextel is not obligated to publicly release any revisions to forward-looking statements to reflect events after the date of this release. Sprint Nextel provides a detailed discussion of risk factors in periodic SEC filings, including in its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2011.


Reader comments

Sprint set to shut down its iDEN network as early as next summer


That doesn't mean that it is released. You got a preorder. The official re-launch hasn't been announced yet. You can't order online anymore and you can't walk into a store and buy it.

Sprint's plan to shutdown iDen has nothing to do with the delay in EVO LTE, which was HTC's delay due to Apple pressure, not Sprint's.

Shutting down iDen should be a very high priority as it will allow using CDMA/LTE on 800Mhz, which will mean better coverage and building penetration for phone/data service. Sprint should have shutdown iDen years ago.

Agreed should have shut it down ages ago its been dead a long time. Just wasted space that could have gone to our upcoming LTE network sooner rather than later.

The Motorola Admrial is a fine Android choice... but Motorola killed its hopeful future of ICS. Motorola doesn't do after the initial release support. Shame, because the keyboard is much easier to use then those not ergonomically-friendly sideways slide-out ones.

Sprint's Direct Connect Now PTT app for Android should be coming out soon. I wonder how much Sprint will be charging for that service.

I'd be interested in finding a good PTT app for android.

We've been using TiKL, but his success is killing his service, because it is becoming very hit or miss about working or not working, due to server load and the pointless additions of text messaging and image sending that he keeps build in.

Wait, if Sprint is going to switch LTE frequencies sometime down the road, are the upcoming LTE phones (like the EVO 4G LTE) going to even work on that frequency? Or will I eventually have another "4G" Sprint device that can't get 4G service like my OG EVO since they never rolled out WiMAX in my city before they abandoned it?

That does not mean that the LTE devices being sold today will not work. (Double negative intended). The LTE devices that will be coming out in 2014 will use LTE on both the 800 mhz and 1900 mhz spectrum. The ones sold today will still work 2 years from now... Just only on th 1900 mhz spectrum. So yes, LTE devices sold 2 years from now will be better (WOW!! What a surprise!! Technology improves over time? WTF?!), but it will not break compatibility with today's devices.

Sprint isn't that dumb. The hardware is no doubt capable but perhaps would need to be enabled in a future OTA. Or perhaps its already enabled but not advertized. They heve been planning this move for like a year now and they are gonna face enough flack over switching to old 4G WiMAX to the newer 4g LTE

experiment626 and Starfleet Captain are correct, from what I have read.

Today's LTE devices will be 1900 Mhz only for LTE. Period. Supposedly the Evo LTE *will* support 3G over 800Mhz, but not LTE on 800Mhz.

Future devices will likely be both 800 and 1900 Mhz. Supposedly, there will not be any tower with ONLY 800Mhz, it will always have 1900 along with it. So all LTE devices now will work with every tower.

This is one of the reasons why I didn't jump on the pre-order bandwagon. I assumed from the beginning that they wouldn't include 800MHz on the EVO 4G LTE. That, combined with the limited roll-out and my own contract schedule, gives me little incentive to upgrade at this time.

It's a great phone, but my current EVO 3D still has a lot of life left in it. Normally, I'd be right there on the bleeding edge, jumping all over the new EVO; but I can't justify it, given my situation.

It could be a year or even more before you see another high-end device like the Evo LTE that will *also* support 1900Mhz LTE. I see no good reason to wait based on just lack of 800Mhz LTE support.

Going from AT&T with average 3g speeds of 2.5mps in my area to Sprint my Galnex with .15mbps average is going to seem like a very long wait...seeing how Phoenix isn't due for LTE until the 3rd wave of the roll out. It is then that the 4 minute on-the-fly, non HD YouTube vids can be watched in 4 minutes instead of 10 minutes.

Really? This time? If Sprint is for real
it sure is about time!!! 5-6yrs later?
So it'll still be another 12-18mo's
before they'll be using the 800mhz band
for LTE, huh? 800mhz frequency should
bring Sprint's LTE pretty close to Verizon's in performance, right?
As in 15/18/22+mbps?


Well granted this is from non-green light market with non-optimized speeds, knock down the theoretical testing speeds, knock down to device speeds, knock down again to peak traffic times and lots of LTE phones (possibly LTE iPhones), and add it to a network known for America's all inclusive best priced plans with unlimited data (with no asterisk * ;), and there's your real world speed. I'll be skeptical and hope for between 5-15mbps. Hopefully I'm very wrong

Stuck with Sprint despite horrific voice and data coverage (degraded over the past 2 years). I got an Airave from them FOC and am now playing the waiting game for when my Galaxy Nexus can grab and hold onto a decent signal away from the house. I guess I still have faith that they will turn this ship around.

Voice/text coverage on Sprint is identical to Verizon. They share towers. Data- that is a different story.

Me- I have seen no negative change in voice or data coverage at all in many years. I *have* seen a huge degrade in 3G data speeds, however.

Now I know what everyone is talking about this is why I don't want the Evo LTE cause of the frequency and it won't be compatible with 800mhz radio. On top of that LTE is in my area for Verizon and I thought that Sprint would start taking down the iDEN this year but nope. Now what happens when Clearwire is in the mix? Are we going to have tri band Sprint phones?

It could be two or three YEARS before 800Mhz LTE is widely available on Sprint. It is not a great reason to not buy a 1900Mhz LTE device now, which will still work on all those towers.

They have already started taking iDEN towers down. I had an iDEN blackberry for work and the coverage and building penetration has gotten bad. My theory is those are towers that have been converted to the new network vision already, OGEVO 3G seemed to degrade at the same time. Now I have a DuraMax and coverage for PTT and voice. is much better. Had a Admiral, great work smartphone, but had issues with it in a corporate environment.

They are actually still sell iDEN hardware ? That's so 2005. Thought they had stopped a year or so ago when they anounced they were shutting it down.

Unless you have a large corporate or government account, you haven't been able to buy iDEN phones for a while.

During the mass exodus from sprint "2006-2007" along with alto agency that still needed PTT, VZW had just re-launched their PTT service and I got say it was way better than anything sprint hybrid or cdma side had. Even on 1x you could do group calls with VZW. You still as far as understand need to be in a 3g area for Sprint cdma DC to work. Just like then any agency and companies that still depend on PTT service would benefit to moving to VZW. Better coverage and more dependable service than sprint cdma stuff. VZW would benefit from ramping up their marketing again.

People laugh at PTT but if people only knew the amount of contractors,gov and biz accounts that use the service is still pretty large and to them the least of their concerns is when is Sprint going to deploy LTE or when is the new Evo going to hit the stores.