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Sprint puts an end date on iDEN: June 2013

The phase-out of Sprint’s iDEN network has already begun. The only surprising element is that it didn’t happen sooner. It was clear not long after Sprint’s acquisition of Nextel that iDEN had a limited shelf life. It was an already slow network with little hope of an upgrade. Combine that with quickly expanding 3G networks, and the eventual debut of 4G LTE, and it was clear that Sprint had made a mistake and that iDEN was eventually bite the dust. And now we have an end date for that process: June, 2013.

Given the costs of operating a cellular network, Sprint would likely prefer to just shut it off and start repurposing it. But there are simply too many customers who still use it for its push-to-talk feature. This includes government and corporate customers, so clearly there has to be some kind of transition phase. To that end, Sprint is contacting its customers and presenting them with CDMA-based options that include its push-to-talk DirectConnect service.

In about 13 months, though, iDEN will be no more. It’s legacy will be that squawking sound, followed by garbled voices. For Sprint, it will represent one of its biggest failures — indeed, one of the biggest failures in the mobile communications arena. Hopefully with iDEN’s retirement they can put the debacle behind them.

Via Phone Scoop.