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Boost mobile starts notifying customers using iDEN that they will see coverage changes


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It will be curious to see how many Nextel customers Sprint can salvage and switch to SDC? I believe there are approx 6 million Nextel users left, so that's a lot of churn within the next two years that could keep Hesse in hot water with investors.

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I am not sure how much spectrum they are using for Nextel or in what configuration, but I believe a smart plan would be to make room and turn on 1xA on their 800mhz now for Direct Connect, so current iDEN users will not see a drop in building penetration, while seeing an increase in coverage area. I believe that will get a ton of people to move over to CDMA PPT devices.

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I am not sure how much spectrum they are using for Nextel or in what configuration, but I believe a smart plan would be to make room and turn on 1xA on their 800mhz now for Direct Connect, so current iDEN users will not see a drop in building penetration, while seeing an increase in coverage area. I believe that will get a ton of people to move over to CDMA PPT devices.

 

In some sense that is a rational and thoughtful idea. But the biggest motivator why Sprint is decommissioning iDEN ASAP is cost. Operation cost and site leases. Sprint is counting on their improved cash flow from iDEN decommissioning to fund the tail end of Network Vision in 2013. There really is no option for Sprint at this time but to ditch iDEN once and for all.

 

This thinning in advance is a means for Sprint to reduce costs now and help get iDEN customers to understand the end is near, and to help motivate them to move on. Although Sprint wants as many of these cuistomers to migrate to CDMA as possible, they are prepared to lose millions of them.

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I'm not an iDEN user, nor really a Nextel fan, but the one thing that bothers me the most about killing iDEN is the loss of unit-to-unit walkie-talkie use without a tower needed to support it (MOTO Talk, which Nextel calls Direct Talk). When all else fails, power is out, towers are down, etc, emergency responders can still stay in touch with nearby team members with current iDEN units. That goes away with PTT CDMA (which requires connection via tower AND 3G service).

 

Yeah, iDEN is expensive - mostly because it is unique - but that uniqueness is what makes it the first-responder's dream.

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