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Sprint's Hesse commits to phasing out iDEN

Chris Ziegler

Echoing sentiments of Sprint's senior VP of networks from last month, CEO Dan Hesse has said that the company will be saying goodnight to its aging push-to-talk network -- iDEN -- that it inherited from its Nextel acquisition several years ago, "just like 1G was shut down." Of course, the difference between 1G cellular and iDEN is that iDEN still holds a very unique position in the wireless marketplace: even though it sucks for data, it's really the only popular, successful way to route push-to-talk over a cell network of any kind. To that end, the company is actively soliciting bids to build out CDMA 1X Advanced right now, which may allow the company to have another go at moving its PTT services over to a CDMA-based technology (the first attempt, QChat, already failed). In the meantime, Hesse says that the company is putting most of its marketing efforts into attracting customers to its CDMA airwaves, not its iDEN ones, in the hopes that they'll be able to smooth out the transition and free up iDEN spectrum for other services. It's had a good run, hasn't it?

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