Sprint on track to eliminate iDEN network next year
Sprint is proceeding on schedule to migrate its customers to a hybrid 3G/4G network, which includes the elimination of former Nextel iDEN network that the company purchased in 2005 for $35 billion, officials for the wireless carrier said during a quarterly earnings call yesterday.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said the carrier now boast 55 million subscribers, a record high for the company. After assuming the helm of the troubled company four years ago, Hesse said the company has turned a corner.
“2011 caps what I would consider to be the first phase of our turnaround — recovery and strengthening of the business,” Hesse said during the call.
Now, Sprint is embarking on an investment phase that is designed to bring the carrier into the 4G LTE market while also reducing its operations and maintenance costs associated with the former Nextel iDEN network. Ultimately, Sprint will reduce the number of towers it uses from 68,000 to 38,000, with 9,600 Nextel sites scheduled to be decommissioned by the end of the year, according to Steve Elfman, president of Sprint’s network operations and wholesale unit. All customers are expected to be off the iDEN network in mid-2013, according to the company.