01
Jul
4g-wars-is-sprint-planning-on-dropping-wimax-and-changing-to-lte-_11

If you've been clinging steadfastly to one of the tiny number of iDEN Android phones ever produced, you better have backup plan. Sprint shut off the old Nextel iDEN network yesterday (June 30th) just like it said it would. That juicy Nextel spectrum will be worth much more to Sprint as the backbone of its ever-expanding LTE network. Sprint is still happy to take you money, but only if you use the CDMA/LTE network.

sprint-4g-lte

Sprint has clarified the situation for anyone still rocking a Nextel device today. Basically, it's broke:

  • Your Nextel (iDEN) devices no longer can make calls, including 9-1-1 calls
  • Your Nextel (iDEN) lines have been cancelled
  • Your Nextel (iDEN) phone number(s) will be lost and you cannot move that number to another carrier.
  • You may lose contacts, pictures or other data stored on your Nextel devices

A handful of Nextel push-to-talk devices will continue working as regular phones on Sprint's CDMA network, but most are dead in the water. This is just the latest step in Sprint's "Network Vision" plan to bring its network up to the level of competitors AT&T and Verizon. By decommissioning the iDEN network, the carrier can re-farm those bands for LTE service (and a bit of CDMA). This is prime wireless real estate, too. Those Nextel devices were occupying a sizable chunk of the 800MHz frequency band, which is excellent for urban and rural settings.

extremetech-sprint-network-vision-spectrum-chart1

Devices will have to be released with radios to support these frequencies, but Sprint's LTE network should be more robust down the line. Besides, who was using iDEN besides hospitals and emergency services? Not like that's important.

[Sprint 1, Sprint 2]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

  • MERCKLE

    Hopefully this is a smooth transistion and a quick one at that!

  • Morgan Maguire

    so excited :) :) :)

    • Stormprobe

      Keep being excited because Sprint always has been and always will be behind the curve, so their customers will always be waiting. If you don't want to wait anymore, go with another provider and come back to Sprint when they get their shit together, which will be never.

  • http://www.gregmadhere.com/ Greg Madhere

    I hope the first devices are flagship level.

  • Brandon Fletcher

    San Angelo, TX got 4G LTE today. Great speeds and everything. I'm impressed that they had everything in place to flip the switch. Too bad I went to T-Mobile 2 months ago, Sprint lost a 10 year customer - I got tired of waiting (we've always suffered from unusable "3G" speeds here).

    • Danny Lewis

      I would say Sprint will be awesome in 10 years once they have the infrastructure in place to take advantage of the 800Mhz and other spectrum they've acquired, but like you, I was tired of waiting. Sprint has yet to offer LTE in my area, but T-Mobile has beat them to the punch and has just recently aquired more spectrum. T-Mo is on the move. Let's just hope the SoftBank money get's Sprint in gear. However, I don't know if I can go back to CDMA or contracts ever again.

      • Matthew Fry

        and once they're Softbank and not Sprint.

    • Anthony Monico

      Only half of San Angelo got 4g lol.....I live by the base and its still 3g.....I have to go past bryant to get 4g service.....I hope the upgrade ALL of San Angelo lol

  • Ed

    Who was using iDEN besides hospitals and emergency services? I was, for only $40 a year, not a month, a year! Who can match that now???

    • BeerguyOE

      My dad who works for a local public works used them they gave him a new phone that goes over the 3g network

  • Oversight68

    Killing off iDEN finally gives Sprint the ability to realize the benefits of the Nextel merger. Now they can put that spectrum to use to improve their coverage footprint and offer better network service for most of their customer base. It's just a shame it took this long to be able to get rid of the Nextel albatross.

  • Cherokee4Life

    800Mhz + SoftBank Money + ClearWire

    It must feel good to be Sprint right about now. They now have the money and resources to be a serious contender. I just hope they keep unlimited data forever......

  • HopelesslyFaithful

    so when will sprint have phones tghat support 800, 1900, 2500? I am in the market for a new phone and i only saw in wikipedia that they support 1900 band. I don't wnat to buy a phone and find out in a few months they support the lower and higher band.

    • SprintTech

      Most of the newer LTE phones starting with the HTC EVO LTE have at least the 800 and 1900 band radio installed.

      • Josh

        They only can use CDMA on 800Mhz. No current Sprint phone has an 800Mhz LTE radio. That said, I'm hoping that CDMA will get turned on first so we at least get better 3G and voice coverage. 800Mhz LTE will likely be deployed after they finish the 1900Mhz LTE rollout, but in theory it should just be a remote software update to turn it on. I wouldn't expect 800Mhz LTE for at least a year though.

  • Stormprobe

    Why does this article have 2.5 Ghz listed? Sprint is phasing out WiMax in favor of LTE. I also like how the graphic is dated 2011+.

    • E. Elabo

      Sprint has spectrum holdings in the 2.5 GHz band through its ownership in Clearwire.

  • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

    "Sprint is still happy to take you money, but only if you use the CDMA/LTE network."

    Missed an "r" there.

  • cell guru

    What will the emergency people do now....NEXTEL WAS THE ONLY NETWORK THAT WORKED DURING 911 AND KATRINA.

  • Armend552

    So some phones will still work. What about the ic902 which is a hybrid iden and cdma phone?