updated 03:35 pm EST, Wed January 30, 2008
Sprint to continue iDEN
Sprint will not only continue to support its iDEN network, it will attempt to breathe more life into it, the company's CEO says. Rumors have persisted that the company would shut down its push-to-talk technology, which was inherited through the purchase of Nextel and was once in widespread use with the likes of construction firms and taxi companies. Although iDEN devices are still used by millions of Sprint/Nextel subscribers, the Associated Press notes that business and technical issues -- namely dropped, blocked or garbled calls -- have led thousands of people to cancel their accounts.
CEO Dan Hesse explains however that the company has "invested significantly" in its iDEN network over the past two years, and that it should now be performing at "best-ever levels." Investment is continuing into the corresponding Direct Connect service, and it should see still more new handsets released in the future.
For Sprint, there are two main downsides to maintaining iDEN. The network is separate from its primary CDMA services, resulting in extra infrastructure costs. Additionally, because iDEN has relatively little bandwidth for data, Sprint cannot reap some of the profits it does from options on CDMA phones. Sprint is still attempting to dissuade people from using iDEN, through the introduction of hybrid iDEN/CDMA phones, and the upcoming QChat push-to-talk service for CDMA.