USA based Sprint Nextel is closing down its expensively purchased iDEN network today (30th June) as part of its long running plan to upgrade its disparate networks into a single platform.
Sprint originally bought Nextel in 2005 for US$36 billion, but delays in the takeover, legal challenges from Sprint affiliates and mass exodus of customers following the takeover lead to a US$29.7 billion write down of the takeover in 2008.
Sprint finally 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.
The company stopped selling iDEN products last year, and has been pushing customers over to its CDMA network, which also supports an equivalent of iDEN’s push-to-talk service.
Sprint will shut down switch locations in rapid succession throughout today, followed by powering down equipment and eliminating backhaul at each cell site.
When decommissioning of the iDEN network is complete, nearly 30,000 iDEN installations will be taken off air.