Sprint’s Aging iDEN Network Could Go Dark As Soon As June 2013

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Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has been planning to kill off the carrier’s aging iDEN network since 2010, but now Sprint has finally delivered a date for iDEN’s demise. The carrier has just announced that they plan to pull the plug on their iDEN network as soon as June 30, 2013.

Thankfully, from the ashes of the company’s near-dead 2G network will rise enhanced 3G service and Sprint’s new 4G LTE network.

The announcement comes just days after the FCC amended the rules that govern the ESMR 800 MHz spectrum band, meaning Sprint (and little guys like SouthernLINC Wireless) can now deploy their 3G and 4G network technologies in the same slice of spectrum that their iDEN networks previously occupied.

While Sprint still plans to launch their LTE network in a handful of markets any day now, refarming their existing spectrum holdings to help bolster that 4G network will help more customers latch onto a high speed signal. It’s a good thing, too — Sprint has already begun to push out LTE-capable hardware, and if they want to keep up pace with their larger competitors, they’re going to need to hit the ground running with regard to LTE network expansion.

Fear not, you chirp fans — Sprint has been fleshing out their device portfolio with CDMA Direct Connect handsets to appeal to users who still need their fix of instantaneous communication, but the era of wonderfully bulky flip phones is finally drawing to a close. Over the next few months, Sprint will be reaching out to their business and government customers in an effort to switch them over to their new Direct Connect service, and we’ll soon see the carrier discontinue all of their existing iDEN hardware.