Sprint 4G Rollout Update
Monday, March 26, 2012 - 6:41 PM MDT
Sprint continues its iDEN thinning plan that it announced a few months ago in full force. It is wrapping up the removal of 83 sites in the Nextel New Orleans market and readily preparing to mobilize nationwide in 20 of 21 remaining Nextel markets to do the same.
Based on newly obtained internal documents, from mid April 2012 through the end of June, Sprint plans on decommissioning over 9,000 of Nextel's approximate 32,000 total site count. Just under one third the total Nextel iDEN network. This will save Sprint a lot of operational dollars in 2012.
Might as well save a few bucks...
It has been in the plans for some time now for Sprint to fully decommission the entire Nextel iDEN network in 2013. Sprint will be reusing the 800MHz SMR spectrum that Nextel's iDEN network currently uses and reallocate that to be used on its new Network Vision platform. The new uses will include CDMA voice (1xAdvanced) and 4G LTE for high speed data. These are seen as critical for mid and long term capacity, as well as helping Sprint customers with building penetration.
It is no secret that Sprint is shedding Nextel subscribers at a high rate. And since the epitaph for the iDEN network has already been written, it makes a lot of financial sense for Sprint to start taking down many iDEN sites now, leaving a minimum amount of coverages left for the remaining Nextel subscribers.
Sprint has said in the past that the Nextel network capacity was significantly over built in most urban areas in order to allow for future subscriber growth. The high growth rates never materialized post Sprint and Nextel merger. Sprint is largely identifying these extra sites for removal. These provide significant operational costs without much advantage. However, there have been anecdotal reports already that thinning in the New Orleans market has created reduced amounts of coverage.
Those waskily wabbits!!!
Sprint originally created a iDEN Thinning site to help customers understand what was going on. However, competing wireless carriers were using this data to try and specifically target affected customers in order to gain subscribers. Sprint has had to take the information offline because of the exploitative nature their competitors engaged in.
Nextel's 22 Markets. Each Nextel market is shown with a number in blue listing number of sites before the 2012 Thinning and the number in green showing the number to remain after thinning. A total of 9,775 sites being taken offline. Click on image to enlarge.
The select iDEN site decommissioning (thinning) has already started occurring in the New Orleans market and should be wrapped up completely by the middle of April. The rest of Nextel's market will begin in earnest in April. See market break downs below.
- New Orleans (completes)
- Pacific Northwest
- Northern California
- Southern California
- New England
- St. Louis
- New York
Will not be thinned in advance