USA based Sprint Nextel says that it remains on schedule to decommission the iDEN Nextel National Network 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 29th.
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.
“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 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.