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Sprint inks another three years' worth of iDEN infrastructure support with Motorola, 'several' new phones coming in Q1

Chris Ziegler

Even as Sprint starts to dream up ways to sunset its aging (but still popular) iDEN network, reclaim the spectrum, and migrate its push-to-talk customer base to something CDMA-based, there's still a network to maintain in the short term -- and to that end, the company has re-upped its contract with Motorola to keep the system in tip-top shape for at least another three years. Amazingly, this will mean that the network is some twenty years old by the time the agreement is up in 2013, after which they'll either need to be ready with their CDMA replacement (bearing in mind that QChat already failed) -- or we imagine they'll need another contract renewal. Oh, and this won't just be a run-out-the-clock situation, either: there'll be at least some new hardware, with Sprint saying that "several" handsets are on tap for the first quarter of 2011 including the i886 ("stylish," rugged, and landscape QWERTY) and the i686, an update of the i680 with improved waterproofing. Follow the break for the full press release.

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Sprint Extends iDEN® Network Infrastructure Supply Agreement with Motorola Solutions for Three Additional Years

Extension agreement, including maintenance support, reinforces Sprint's commitment to iDEN customers through 2013

Two new iDEN handsets announced for availability in the first quarter; Additional devices planned for 2011

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. & SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (BUSINESS WIRE), December 21, 2010 - Sprint (NYSE: S) and the Motorola Solutions business of Motorola (NYSE: MOT) today announced an agreement to extend Motorola's support of the Sprint iDEN network for three additional years. Extending this longstanding agreement reflects both companies' commitment to iDEN technology as a best-in-class platform for push-to-talk (PTT) services. This agreement formally extends Sprint and Motorola Solutions' contractual iDEN relationship through 2013 and covers the supply of software and services.

"This agreement is great news for our iDEN customers," said Bob Azzi, senior vice president of Network, Sprint. "The Nextel National Network continues to be the nation's fastest push-to-talk network, and it is operating at best-ever performance levels. Additionally, this agreement provides support for our important iDEN customer base while we begin executing our Network Vision plan."

"Motorola has been a proud partner with Sprint in delivering the industry's best PTT service for more than 17 years," said Mike Fox, general manager, iDEN Products and Solutions, Motorola Solutions. "We're pleased to continue partnering with Sprint to support their iDEN network through 2013, and we're equally excited about the launch of additional iDEN devices for Sprint PTT customers."

Today Sprint also announced that several new and exciting iDEN handsets will be available in the first quarter of 2011. Motorola i886 is a stylish yet rugged phone, boasting the first-ever side-sliding QWERTY keyboard and corporate e-mail on an iDEN device. In addition, the popular Motorola i680 will be updated as Motorola i686 with the capacity to be immersed in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Pricing, availability and full feature lists will be available at a later date.

As with all Sprint iDEN handsets, customers can use Nextel Direct Connect on Nextel phones in and between Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Peru. In addition, customers can use Nextel Direct Connect from the United States to these six countries.

"In line with Motorola Solutions' ongoing support of the iDEN network, Motorola Mobility is committed to working with Sprint," said Mark Shockley, senior vice president, Motorola Mobility. "We look forward to bringing exciting new devices to market, including compelling next-generation push-to-talk solutions in the coming year."

Network Vision is a blueprint for a multiyear initiative intended to provide customers the best network experience available today, enhancing service, creating network flexibility, reducing operating costs, and improving environmental sustainability. The focus of the plan is on upgrading the existing CDMA network while providing technology flexibility for the Sprint 4G platform.

Taking advantage of this latest generation of technology, Sprint will be able to deploy multiple spectrum bands on a single platform – for example, 800MHz and 1900MHz on CDMA. This will improve CDMA in-building penetration and ensure the performance of PTT on CDMA matches or surpasses that of iDEN.


* Under the extended Infrastructure Supply Agreement, Motorola Solutions will continue to support the Sprint iDEN network for three years – from Jan. 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2013.
* Motorola Solutions will continue to provide world-class support for software, hardware and systems on the existing Sprint iDEN network.
* Customers will benefit from the same level of high performance services, including industry-leading PTT, mobile telephony, messaging and Internet access.
* Motorola Solutions has more than 17 years of experience supporting the Sprint iDEN network.


Click here for more information on Sprint's iDEN network, products and services.

Click here for more information on Motorola's iDEN network solution portfolio.

About Motorola

Motorola Solutions is a leading provider of business- and mission-critical communication products and services for enterprise and government customers. Through leading-edge innovation and communications technology, it is a global leader that enables its customers to be their best in the moments that matter. Starting Jan. 4, 2011, Motorola Solutions will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "MSI." Please visit our media center or subscribe to our news feed.

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 48.8 million customers at the end of the third quarter of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands, including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, Common Cents Mobile and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation's greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at or and

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