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Sprint to kill iDEN to provide LTE capacity
17 April 2012
US operator Sprint to decommission 9,600 iDEN base stations in 2012 to prepare for switch to LTE
Sprint will deploy LTE on its 800 megahertz network by 2014, subject to regulatory approval, according to reports citing Bob Azzi, senior vice president of networks at the company.
Sprint has started the process although it has not received approval from the US Federal Communications Commission so far.
The operator will decommission 9,600 iDEN mobile base stations in 2012, and the remaining two-thirds of its iDEN network in 2013, as part of the shift to LTE, said the report. The iDEN-standard network, using 2G technology originally designed by Motorola, was launched by Nextel, a company that Sprint acquired in 2005. Its push-to-talk feature made it popular among construction workers and long-distance truck drivers. Nokia Siemens Networks excluded iDEN from its purchase of Motorola's equipment business in 2010.
Sprint will offer its iDEN subscribers upgrades to CDMA technology and begin removing iDEN devices from retail.
Sprint expects its LTE network to cover 123 million people by the end of 2012, reaching 250 million by the end of 2013, said the report.
The operator recently ended its spectrum hosting deal with LightSquared, the troubled US venture to deliver LTE services terrestrially and by satellite, after the FCC withdrew its approval for LightSquared to use satellite spectrum for its ground-based network because of threatened interference with GPS services. GTB
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