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Sprint pulls online iDEN sales; retail to follow

Thu, 06/07/2012 - 2:11pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Sprint is no longer selling iDEN phones on its website and will phase the devices out of stores this month, a spokesman for the company has confirmed.

The move comes one week after the operator set a June 2013 hard stop for its iDEN network, which is being replaced by its Direct Connect CDMA-based push-to-talk service.

Sprint’s spokesman did not say whether it would continue to sell PowerSource devices that run on both the iDEN and CDMA network.

The operator said when it announced the iDEN shutdown date last week that it would keep offering the dual-mode PowerSource devices, as customers could still access CDMA voice and data after the iDEN network stopped running.

The remaining customers still on the iDEN network are being moved to Direct Connect, currently available on the Kyocera DuraMax, Kyocera DuraCore, Kyocera DuraPlus and the Motorola Admiral.

The plan to end iDEN was announced in late 2010. Sprint has already taken down more than 1,900 iDEN sites and plans to close 9,600 by the end of the third quarter, it said at a recent conference.

The 800 MHz spectrum left over from its closure will be repurposed for Sprint’s LTE network, currently running on its 1900 MHz holdings.

Sprint’s loss-making iDEN network was the product of its disastrous $35 billion merger with Nextel in 2005. Sprint ended up writing off nearly all of the goodwill value of the acquisition, which resulted in years of difficulty staying profitable.

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