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Sprint Announces Plans to Close its Nextel IDEN Network

07 декабря 2010

Sprint has announced plans to start shutting down its iDEN based Nextel network from 2013 as it migrates its customers over to a revamped CDMA network. The company showed off its "Network Vision blueprint" and announced that it has awarded network upgrade contracts to Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung.

"Network Vision builds on our legacy of wireless innovation and represents the next step in the evolution of our networks to best meet unprecedented growth in mobility services. We are well-positioned to take advantage of new technology, chipsets, devices and applications. Working with these three partners, we expect to deliver to our customers the most cutting-edge network capabilities available today and in the future." said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO

Today, Sprint uses separate equipment to deploy services on 800MHz spectrum, 1.9GHz spectrum and, through its relationship with Clearwire, 2.5GHz spectrum. Under the terms of the new contracts, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung will install new network equipment and software that brings together multiple spectrum bands, or airwaves, on a single, multimode base station.

The base stations will allow for the flexibility to offer new technologies using any of the 800MHz, 1.9GHz or 2.5GHz bands, as well as other spectrum bands. Sprint and the three companies expect to finalize the implementation schedule and begin the first stages of deployment in 2011.

Completion of Network Vision across the Sprint network is expected to take from three to five years.

In addition to implementing multimode base stations, the Sprint Network Vision plan encompasses next-generation push-to-talk (PTT) with broadband capabilities and the integration of multimode chipsets into smartphones, tablets and other broadband devices, including machine-to-machine (M2M) capabilities.

Sprint also intends to repurpose some of its 800MHz spectrum for CDMA service, thereby enhancing coverage, particularly the in-building experience for customers. Augmenting its 1.9GHz footprint with 800MHz, Sprint expects its CDMA coverage density will increase throughout the country.

Future of push-to-talk

As the Network Vision transformation unfolds, Sprint expects to launch the next-generation of PTT services in 2011 on the CDMA network. Over time, Sprint says that a shift is likely to occur whereby customers demand more data-centric applications with PTT usage. As the shifting to more broadband-centric PTT applications on the CDMA network occurs, it is expected that iDEN cell sites will be phased out.

The iDEN phase out is expected to begin in 2013.

"We're seeing an increasing need from our push-to-talk customers for high-speed data capabilities, said Steve Elfman, president-Network Operations & Wholesale, Sprint. "Marrying the industry's only sub-second PTT call setup with broadband data directly supports our customers' needs and creates an unmatched offering in the market. Additionally, we fully expect a competitively priced lineup of rugged handsets and smartphones on the CDMA network."

Financial benefit to Sprint

Sprint expects the Network Vision plan to bring financial benefit to the company, not only by reducing operating costs, but also by avoiding future expenses as wireless data traffic continues to grow. The total estimated incremental cost of the Network Vision program during the deployment period is between US$4 billion and US$5 billion. Sprint estimates the total net financial benefit for a seven-year period to be between US$10 billion and US$11 billion. Cost savings are expected to come from capital efficiencies, reducing energy costs, lowering roaming expenses, backhaul savings and the eventual reduction in total cell sites.

The nation's geography will be divided among Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung on a market-by-market basis. Several of the markets for each company:

  • Alcatel-Lucent: New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C./Baltimore and Los Angeles
  • Ericsson: Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Kansas City and Dallas
  • Samsung: Chicago, Denver, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Seattle


Источник: Cellular news

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