If you are a Nextel subscriber like I've been for close to three years, then you were probably cursing everytime you left Nextel's coverage area. Nextel's phones, which are based on Motorola's iDen technology, aren't like those from any other US-based wireless carrier.
If you were a T-Mobile, AT&T, or Cingular customer (back when all three were separate companies), then there was a chance that you might be able to roam onto one of the other two carriers' networks in the event that you lost contact with your provider's (all three are based on GSM tech for voice and GPRS tech for data). Not only that, you could roam to Europe if you had to (practically all of Europe is on GSM). The same went for customers of Verizon and Sprint. For the most part, the networks of both companies run a technology known as 1xRTT CDMA (and both companies are moving quickly to 1x's successor, EV-DO). Nextel had a great push-to-talk network, but it was always like the third wheel.
Phones were never able to roam and the nationwide coverage maps didn't match those its competitors (plus, a much less mature data offering).
So, it came as no surprise today when word started spreading
that, in a post Sprint-Nextel merger world, CDMA looks like it will prevail over iDen. After all, if you're a Nextel customer, wouldn't you want access to Sprint's nationwide hotspot with the ability to roam?
I know I would. In other Nextel news, apparentely fearful that the merger might cause customers to jump ship, I received a "Don't worry, it's business as usual" form letter from Nextel last week. That didn't stop me. My three year old iDen phone is a dinosaur compared to what the kids are running around with these days. So last week, I jumped on one of Amazon's weekly offers
to get a phone at at net cost of -$50 after rebate (yes, that's negative).