Nextel Decommissioning Begins

Sprint’s Direct Connect is moving from their iDen-based push-to-talk service on Nextel to a CDMA push-to-talk service that will allow faster data speeds.

Selected Nextel towers are expected to be taken off-air, in the next few months, and surrounding towers will be optimized at the same time to maximize coverage. Nextel says coverage on the street/in a car should not be impacted, but Nextel users may experience changes to their call coverage when inside a building.

Sprint will first launch FDD LTE service on its unused 1900 MHz PCS G-Block around the middle of the year. Sprint will combine that spectrum with other 1900 MHz spectrum for its LTE service.

Nextel’s 850 MHz penetrates buildings better than Sprint’s 1.9 GHz PCS band. Sprint will first swap out Nextel gear for CDMA gear in the 850 MHz band then go with LTE later, after their FD-LTE rollout in the PCS band.

Currently, only the New Orleans/Baton Rouge market is shown with detailed towers slated for decommissioning. Sprint will update other towers for impacts on a 30-day rolling basis.

It’s all part of Sprint’s Network Vision plan which will integrate different antennas and basestations into a single tower. Whether Sprint’s plan will include Lightsquared’s 1.6 GHz or Dishes’ 2.1 GHZ (MSS) frequencies is still unknown.

Sprint-Nextel has 60,000 cell sites now and they’d like to be around 40,000. Network Vision is their plan to integrate services, lower costs, and provide hosted service.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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