Sprint will begin notifying its business and government customers of the shutdown on Friday, offering them the chance to sign up for a Sprint Direct Connect plan on its CDMA network. The carrier has already stopped selling iDEN devices through certain channels, but -- effective today -- will discontinue sales entirely. It has three Kyocera Corp. (NYSE: KYO) and one Motorola Direct Connect handsets ready for the CDMA Direct Connect network, which is based on Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)’s QChat platform and also includes an international option. (See Qualcomm Pursues 4G Push-To-Talk.)
Why this matters
Clearing its iDEN network of users will allow Sprint to refarm the iDEN 800MHz spectrum for Long Term Evolution (LTE), the lynchpin in its Network Vision strategy. The carrier received permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to do so on Friday.
So far, the Nextel shutdown has cost it around $543 million. Sprint started with 20 million iDEN customers, but said in April that it's already down to less than 6 million. (See Sprint Losses Mount on 4G Upgrades & iPhones.) For more
- Sprint Details iDEN's Death March
- Sprint's iPhone Q4 Ouch!
- Sprint Q4: What We Already Know
- Sprint Accelerates Network Vision
- Sprint to Launch LTE by Mid-2012
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile