Sprint CEO Dan Hesse

Voice, data and 911 service will cease the morning of June 30th

Sprint reminds us today that its iDEN network shutdown is right on schedule, expected to hit the date the carrier set out over 11 months ago. Starting "first thing" on June 30th, the carrier will turn off switch locations in rapid succession, quickly followed by powering down equipment and removing backhaul from the cell cites. The carrier has been urging customers since the announcement of the network's shutdown to move away from their legacy devices and onto one using EVDO and LTE going forward. Sprint says it has sent letters, legal notices, emails and text messages to customers consistently in order to remind them of the June 29th deadline.

Customers who eventually do make the move to Sprint's "Direct Connect" service to replace iDEN devices will experience better coverage, international Push-to-Talk service and much faster 3G data speeds. All they have to do now is make the switch.

Source: Sprint

 

Reader comments

Sprint will shut down its iDEN network on June 29

45 Comments

So are they going to immediately start using that spectrum for its other services? I barely even have 3g in the Northern California Sacramento area. Unlimited Data means nothing when you can't use it.

I'm also in Sprint & I live in Davis. You are correct our service is awful and I think it is getting worse. I cant even talk in my house anymore. I'm out of contract and will probably jump ship in June. If they come out and do something about it I'll stay but at this point the family is sick of it all.

"shutdown is right on schedule"...
They can't turn ON services anywhere near schedule to bring in more income, but they can turn services off on schedule and lose income?
Someone is not driving the bus very well...

That's because they are building their network from the ground up. This isn't like Verizon or att where you slap an lte antenna on a existing cell site. EVERY SINGLE TOWER IS BEING REDONE! Last time I checked building out a cellular network is hard.

While it's understandable that network vision will take longer than any of the other wireless companies to upgrade to LTE, it is Sprint's fault for doing a half assed upgrade to 3g anyway. If they did it right the first time they and Sprint customers wouldn't be in this spot in the first place.

It is easy to criticize like that, in hindsight. At the time, there was no LTE, and the WiMax standard was no better or worse... something had to be picked. Sprint was unlucky. So while they enjoyed being the first to 4G and having 4G for a while before anyone else, in the long term the WiMax choice hurt. Now they have to play catchup.

And Sprint isn't just rolling out LTE, they are completely revamping 3G at the same time with newer technology that improves its range, capacity, and speed too.

I was not talking about FCC forcing Sprint to go with Wimax. I was referring to them not using fiber cables and staying with t1 when they upgraded to 3g.

The question is, If this are getting turned off as iden, will they be turned on as regular cdma towers? If so how long? If this mean better 3g speeds im all for it.

yeah, its mostly going for LTE :) which is awesome cause all the new towers being built have new equipment that can handle all spectrum bands simultaneously.

and iDen used up really strong Mhz spectrum I think around 800, lower frequency bands have greater building penetration.

im here in Miami, and I cant wait till all areas are covered here I know this network rebuild is worth the wait.

Too bad none of the current Sprint phones support LTE 800. So those still on contract won't benefit from this upgrade until they get a new phone, and that's assuming the new phone supports it.

That is absolutely true. However, I believe I read that Sprint said they would not be adding the 800Mhz LTE until after they finish the rest of the non-800Mhz LTE rollout and 3G upgrades. That is probably another 1 to 1.5 years away, and by then, new model phones will be out and people will be upgrading anyway.

So what? Welcome to the world of technology. Technology evolves and old devices usually aren't able to partake.

They aren't rolling out LTE into the 800 band until later this year and into next. This means it probably won't be widespread until late next year or into '15. Sprint has already said that devices supporting the new bands will be available starting later this year.

This doesn't even get into the discussion of whether devices that support Sprint's flavor of LTE 800 and Clearwire's TDD LTE are even anywhere near ready for primetime...which clearly they aren't.

They plan on using the freed up 800mhz spectrum to improve CDMA and LTE coverage. Most phones should support 3G over the 800mhz band, but unfortunately no current Sprint phones support LTE on that band. Sprint HTC One and GS4 only work on 1900. So if you're hoping to benefit from this spectrum don't hold your breath. At least not until you get a new phone (assuming it supports that band).

no one currently will benefit from LTE on the new frequency. But definitely for voice coverage and maybe some 3G. some areas are already experiencing the 800 megahertz on voice. When i connect to it here in Indy its a substantial difference in coverage and penetration. And with a stronger frequency the 3g speeds will increase at the same distance as 1900 due to less loss over distance. If sprint puts evdo on 800. Ive read that it will only be voice and LTE and later VoLTE. But if lte gets the same coverage as voice on 800smr then it will be amazing. (When we get 800 mhz. lte phones) A low freq (800) running on a carrier built (tower spacing) for 1900.
Real good info about network vision and progress over at s4gru site they have updated tower maps with current progress and lots of tecnical info and discriptions. But warning. When lte starts to arrive in your area the site gets addictive and u turn in to a tower crew spotter.

It already is getting better in all the areas that Sprint has already upgraded through their "Vision" rollout. And this is without the iDen towers....

I will point out that Sprint actually already has very good national coverage. Less than AT&T, much more than T-Mobile, and similar to Verizon. 3G speeds in much of that coverage is rather slow (but not everywhere, and that is getting better over the last year now).

"I will point out that Sprint actually already has very good national coverage..."

What planet are you on? Unless you consider "national coverage" to mean "works well in a couple cities in each state, as long as you stay within those cities"

You've repeated the above several times in this thread, and the absurdity of the statement I think is why some have accused you of being a Sprint employee. I know in my state, virtually no one with a clue gets Sprint except those in the city without cars and therefore the means to leave the limited coverage area. Once you get away from the high-rises, streetlamps and interstates, the Sprint signal evaporates. This makes Sprint basically useless for 95% or more of the state.

Several people have posted in the past as being truck drivers and going all over the country and comparing coverage and have said Sprint is one of the best.

And your one state is not the sum of overall national coverage (which is what I said). EVERY carrier has weak areas. Go look at Sensorly for verification. I have.

Sprint has good coverage along the the interstate highways, but that's about it. If you venture off the highways Sprints coverage quickly drops off in many areas.

I switched from Sprint to Verizon about a year and a half ago and can say first hand that Verizon's has by far the best coverage. Verizon also has much better coverage inside buildings. Of course you will pay more for Verizon, but you get what you pay for.

My coverage off the interstates has also always been good everywhere I have gone. Plus, Verizon and Sprint roam on each others' network, so they cover each others' holes and end up with almost identical coverage at least for voice/text and 1xrtt data.

Going back to T-Mobile as soon as contract is up. I'm tired of being outside with full bars and being told no data connection.

Good for Sprint! Not only will this free up spectrum, but will also save tons of cash to be used for other projects. I wish this was happening quicker, and that the LTE Network was further ahead, but I realize Sprint doesn't have the benefits of the old Ma Bell behind them like AT&T & Verizon.

Having just gotten a taste of some LTE from Spirit, it finally works well enough in the speed department but coverage is still extremely spotty. I'm thinking about 1 more year from now Sprint will really be a network nationwide that's as good as we have hoped for. Until then it will be T-Mobile for me.

Yep. Coverage will be significantly better once the iDEN network is fully repurposed to LTE. Unfortunately we'll all need to upgrade our phones to take advantage of the "new" LTE.

In most areas with Sprint LTE, only a fraction of the towers are converted to LTE so far. This means it will, indeed, be spotty while they keep adding more towers.

But I am glad they are doing it this way rather than completely saturating one market and then eventually moving to the next market.

And just so you know, Sprint is already a nationwide network that has coverage far more complete than T-Mobile. Many areas have dismal 3G data speeds, but that is not a factor in "coverage".

And as I have asked a dozen times now...

Android Central, will you *PLEASE* get a better and more appropriate photo to use for your articles when covering Sprint and retire that horrible, rundown photo of Hesse? If you are trying to show a blatant negative bias, you are succeeding.

You'd think some of these replies are from Sprint employees, considering how informative and supportive they are lol. I'm a Sprint customer but it's still kind of laughable.

Yeah, I guess the only non-employee replies MUST be from those being hyper-critical...

I have not seen any inaccurate posting so far (that might change, but I can only say at this moment), and I doubt any of us here are Sprint employees. I don't see anything laughable.

yes, instead of trying to inform themselves they like to complain. You can try and give them honest accurate info and they still complain. s4gru.com and even sensorly.com are great resources, but complaining is easier and faster than trying to learn.

Sprints major problem is backhaul. No point in doing these upgrades if the towers do not have the necessary data connections to handle it. In this city, it can take up to five minutes for a web page to load (like Google) because there is a backhaul issue. Too many users and not enough bandwidth to cover said users. Even if they did away with unlimited data, it would not solve the problem because the towers don't have sufficient bandwidth.

I sure hope it gets sorted out because I am tired of having devices that do not work 95% of the time except for voice calls.

Not going to AT&T or Verizon and T-Mobile advertises 3G/4G here but all they have is EDGE.

Sprint needs to stop dragging their feet, use some of that money they got from Softbank, and start running fiber or more fiber to those towers or increase capacity on that fiber.

And there are some parts in this city, where you just have absolutely not use of data. And this city has 70,000 people in it. So I don't know.

Sprint seemed to stray from the beaten path right after they got Nextel. It's like they just stopped investing in the network. The business plan could work, but they need to get their capacity issues sorted out.

Also, if DISH gets Sprint, they will screw it up, so I hope Softbank gets Sprint.

Sprint is, indeed, upgrading the backhaul to the towers as part of the project. This is evident that I can push a sustained 20+Mbs on the same tower that used to crawl at 20 to 150Kbs.

There is no question Sprint has severely oversold their old network over the last few years so the towers in many areas were overloaded. Data demands have just exploded and it requires continuous improvements to keep up.

Sprint needs to get this done posthaste. That being said, when everything is complete they will still be at a disadvantage, as they will be using half the LTE bandwidth that AT&T and Verizon will be using, and only a quarter of T-Mobile's in many areas. That really leaves little room to grow their customer base, and speeds will be lacking compared to all of the other 3 nationwide carriers.

I would not use AT&T or T-Mobile as examples. Verizon got their 3G rolled out fast and they got most of their LTE rolled out fast. There are still a lot of areas that do not have Verizon LTE but their 3G is fast.

AT&T is sitting on tons of cash but they don't like to spend money. They would rather pay it out in the form of executive compensation. AT&T hates capex. They don't want to spend money on those types of projects and the state of their copper is a shining example of this.

T-Mobile, as I stated in my earlier post, advertises coverage in a lot of areas, that they don't have, or they falsely advertise speeds. So, what are you going to do? Maybe with Metro PCS things will improve but I doubt it.

I dumped Sprint for ATT in November of 2012 and guess what? I have LTE now. No more waiting for me! I used to LOVE Sprint till they promiesed 4G since wimax with no delivery, then they promised LTE with still NO delivery and to add insult to injury, their 3G was slower than dial up. Thanks but no thanks Sprint! I LOVE ATT!!

"Customers...will experience...much faster 3G data speeds." lmao! Thanks for the laugh of the day! =)

Well, at least it is true when comparing the old data on the iDEN network to the revamped 3G data network *after* the Vision updates.

If before... yeah, it is LMAO for many areas.

I can tell you first hand that this new Direct Connect service is absolutely horrible. My company has over two hundred locations in the eastern half of the U.S. with each location using 5-12 of these new radios. I got 11 last August along with their Airave box that connects to the internet and uses GPS for something but I'm not sure what. From day one, these things have never worked with any kind of reliability and if the weather is bad, the do nothing at all. They also have a phone function that is just as unreliable but I will say that the included flashlight function works great. I found out at the begging of this week, 75% of the radios we are almost able to use companywide don't work properly. Our legal department got involved and Sprint is now waiving the $200 per phone cancelation fees for each phone and we are moving to a different carrier.
What was wrong with iDEN that they had to shut it down ?