Sprint’s 2005 merger with Nextel will likely go down as the textbook example for how telecom mergers can go heinously wrong. The major reason? Sprint’s inability to effectively integrate Nextel’s iDEN network and services into its own CDMA-based network and services. The iDEN network cost Sprint dearly, as the carrier was forced to write off a $29 billion loss from the Nextel acquisition in late 2007 and then saw an astonishing 4 million wireless subscribers flee in 2008. To make matters worse, the iDEN network was clogging up spectrum on the valuable 800MHz band that Sprint could have used to deploy an LTE network. So it must come as no small relief to Sprint that it will finally be able to shut down the iDEN albatross next year; the company on Tuesday said that it would cut off service on the network as early as June 30, 2013. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
Sprint on Tuesday announced that it plans to cease service on its iDEN Nextel network as early as June 30th, 2013. The nation’s third largest wireless provider is looking to migrate business and government customers from the old push-to-talk technology onto Sprint Direct Connect, which operates on the carrier’s 3G CDMA network and offers improved in-building coverage, and increased voice and data capacity. Sprint will begin sending written notices to iDEN customers beginning June 1st, 2012. The dated Nextel spectrum will be reassigned for the carrier’s upcoming LTE network. Sprint’s press release follows below. More →
A new Motorola iDEN phone has just been approved by the Federal Communications Commission. The phone is referred to by two names in FCC documents — the i475 and the i235 — and offers a candybar form factor with a full QWERTY keyboard. As expected, it features push-to-talk support and offers Bluetooth connectivity, 2.5mm headphone jack, camera, speakerphone, and an FM radio. Motorola has yet to officially announce the phone. More →
In a press release today, Sprint announced the successor for its push-to-talk (PTT) iDEN network, Sprint Direct Connect. Running on the company’s nationwide CDMA network, Direct Connect will offer users a larger coverage footprint, improved in-building coverage, and increased voice and data capacity. The new protocol will also add several new features, including 200 participant Direct Connect sessions, Land Mobile Radio (LMR) interoperability, and availability notifications. The company expects the move to increase the number of devices that incorporate the Direct Connect service — the press release specifies that an “Android smartphone” along with sets from Motorola and Kyocera are due in the near future. “During the nationwide implementation of Network Vision, Sprint expects to continue operating the iDEN network at current best-ever performance levels,” reads the press release. “As the customer base shifts to more broadband-centric push-to-talk applications on the CDMA network and Sprint launches Sprint Direct Connect, iDEN cell sites are expected to be phased out in 2013.” The Direct Connect service will launch later this year. The full press release is after the break. More →
We have just been informed that as of February 15th, Telus in Canada will be offering SIM unlocking options on almost all handsets and devices. To qualify, you will need to be an active post-paid customer with an account that has been open for a minimum of 90 days. Telus will charge $50 for the unlock code and will unlock both iDEN and GSM devices. Not a bad offering, right?
Today, U.S. wireless provider Sprint published a press release outlining its “Network Vision” to be implemented over the next several years. As the PR reads:
Today, Sprint uses separate equipment to deploy services on 800MHz spectrum, 1.9GHz spectrum and, through its relationship with Clearwire, 2.5GHz spectrum. Under the terms of the new contracts, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung will install new network equipment and software that brings together multiple spectrum bands, or airwaves, on a single, multimode base station.
Sprint notes that the shift to multimode towers will enhance service quality, create network flexibility, reduce operating costs, and improve environmental sustainability. Network executives estimate the cost of Network Vision at between $4 billion and $5 billion, but it should save the company between $10 billion and $11 billion after 7-years.
The same announcement also contains a short note about the future of Sprint’s iDEN, push-to-talk service. “During the nationwide implementation of Network Vision, PTT customers will continue to receive a superior customer experience on the iDEN network, currently performing at best-ever levels,” the release reads. “As the Network Vision transformation unfolds, Sprint expects to launch the next-generation of PTT services in 2011 on the CDMA network, offering customers sub-second call setup time along with robust data capabilities. [...] As the shifting to more broadband-centric PTT applications on the CDMA network occurs, it is expected that iDEN cell sites will be phased out. This phase out is expected to begin in 2013.”
Hit the jump to check out the full release. More →
Sprint CEO, Dan Hesse, was speaking with FierceWireless when he noted that his company would eventually shut down their iDEN network. The move isn’t really all that surprising, especially when you take into account that Hesse asserted that there was “no timeline” and it would be a “gradual process.” The shuttering of Nextel’s iDEN network would, as the CEO put it, “free up some channels to put CDMA services onto Sprint’s 800 MHz iDEN spectrum.” One thing is certain, when Sprint does decide to drop the ax on their iDEN network, there will be plenty of local and state municipalities looking for another wireless provider. More →
Just like we said last night, June 20th will see the U.S. retail release of the Motorola i1. It will be available from Boost Mobile retailers as well as from both Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile. Pricing was not disclosed (we imagine it to be around $350), but we did get confirmation that you’ll be able to hook up the world’s first Push-to-Talk Android smartphone to Boost’s $50 unlimited voice and data plan. More →
Thanks to one of our connects, we’ve scored a shot of Sprint’s playbook which contains some upcoming launch dates. The first on the list confirms that the Motorola i1 we scooped way back will definitely launch on June 20th in stores. However, it won’t be available in stores for purchase until July 11th. Next up is the Samsung Intercept M910 (what some have referred to as the Samsung Moment II). The presumably Android-based Samsung Intercept is due to launch on July 11th as well, for online and in store purchases. What would the nation’s first 4G carrier be without some 4G market launches? We’ll see a number of cities get lit up for Sprint Speed in July, and some of these include Rochester, NY, Syracuse, NY, Kennewick, WA, Pasco, WA, Visalia, WA and more.
Big news today for iDEN fans who have been jonesing for the Opus One that we scooped and spec’d way back when in December as today it has been formally announced Motorola. Officially known as the Motorola i1, the device is the world’s first Android Push-To-Talk smartphone and it will be offered “this summer” by Sprint. While pricing is currently unknown, we do know practically everything else about the phone and its specs which include a 3.1″ HVGA display, 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus and dual-LED flash, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 and stupidly a 2.5mm headphone jack. Running Android 1.5 with a custom UI overlay — possibly a less social version of MOTOBLUR — Motorola has also decided to replace the stock Android browser with Opera Mini 5 plus Flash Lite as well as include the amazing Swype virtual keyboard. Yay or nay, folks? More →
Remember the Opus One, the Android-powered iDEN handset from Motorola we scooped and then spec’d just before Christmas? Well apparently it’s going to be made official sometime in the next few weeks (hello, CTIA!) and will feature one added but obvious goodie: MOTOBLUR. Since we know most of you don’t have encyclopedic memories, here’s a bit of a refresher on what we’ve been told this phone is all about:
- 3.1″ hVGA 320×480 capacitive touchscreen display
- 3 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash
- Proximity sensor
- Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
- microSD card slot
- 2.5mm headset jack
- Home, Menu, Back, Speaker buttons are capacitive buttons with haptic feedback
- iDEN PTT & PTX
- Android LBS which is integrated into the iDEN GPS engine
- “Enterprise email”
- Plastic-molded housing with some rubberized texture finishes
- 58mm in width, 118mm in length
- 100g weight
- 512MB Flash / 256MB of RAM
- 64k and 128k iDEN SIM card support
- Motorola dual-mic technology noise-canceling for noisy environments
- Flash Lite v3.1.x
- Some of the preloaded apps include: corporate email client with ActiveSync support, MOTONAV navigation app, barcode scanner, and document viewer.
Obviously without being official it’s not possible to confirm carriers, but naturally Sprint’s Nextel and Boost are going to get on board while TELUS’s Mike is said to be getting it in Q3. More →
Some thought Sprint was teaming up with LG to launch a killer WiMAX smartphone at CES but the big press event came and went with nary a mention of an LG-branded WiMAX handset on the horizon. A leaked inventory list from Sprint reveals that we all might have been barking up the wrong tree. First on the inventory list is not an LG phone but the HTC A9292, an Android-powered WiMAX handset with a candy bar form factor. HTC already has one WiMAX phone in its portfolio, perhaps the A9292 will become the second. Our unknown friend, the LG LS680 makes its second appearance on a Sprint inventory list. The LS680 will be an Android handset which the tipster claims is similar to the GW620 Eve. Also making a second appearance is the Palm C40, an unknown device that was originally spotted in Sprint’s inventory last August. The tipster leaked additional information about some new handsets that do not appear on the inventory list above, too, so hit PhoneArena for the details. More →
When we say we have specifications, boy, do we mean it. One of our connects has sent us the full rundown on Motorla’s Opus One (their first iDEN Android handset) that we revealed a little while back. The features on the device are actually pretty reasonable, and we’d imagine it to sell for a reasonable attractive price-point at release. The Motorola Opus One will run Android 1.5 with iDEN service enhancements, make use of a “Zeus” CPU, and will feature a 3 megapixel autofocus camera.
Detailed list of full specs after the breakage! More →