Sprint moves to simplify network; So long Nextel

Sprint moves to simplify network; So long Nextel

Summary: Sprint will phase out its Nextel network and aim for a multi-mode network that will save costs. Sprint has picked Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsun to deploy its network plan, dubbed Network Vision

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TOPICS: Networking, Telcos
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Sprint will phase out its Nextel network and aim for a multi-mode network that will save costs. Sprint has picked Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsun to deploy its network plan, dubbed Network Vision.

As part of this new network, Sprint is going to phase out its Nextel infrastructure, also known as IDEN, beginning in 2013. The network deployment will begin in 2011 and take three to five years to complete (statement).

In a nutshell, Sprint is trying to get to the point where it has one network that can toggle between 3G and 4G whether it's long-term evolution (LTE) technology or Clearwire's WiMax. Here's the network plan in a graphic:

While the network plans were a positive some analysts would like more clarity on Sprint's 4G plans. Stifel Nicolaus analyst Christopher King said:

The plan remains somewhat vague, in our view, regarding the company's long-term 4G technology and strategy (and relationship with Clearwire), focusing more on the consolidation of the company's multiple network technologies.

With the network plans, Sprint is trying to future proof its network. Today, Sprint has CDMA, IDEN and WiMax. Those networks mean Sprint needs separate equipment to deploy services on 800MHz, 1.9Ghz and 2.5GHz spectrum.

Sprint said the new network should improve quality and speed, make it easier to expand 4G services and cut costs. Lower expenses are the big win here for Sprint. Sprint said that rolling out the network will cost about $4 billion to $5 billion extra to its capital spending plans. However, Sprint said the net network will save $10 billion to $11 billion over the next seven years with roughly 35 percent to 40 percent due to the phase-out of the Nextel network. These savings will come from backhaul savings, fewer cell sites and capital efficiencies.

"What we are seeing is the savings will start to phase in 2012," said Steve Elfman, president of network operations and wholesale at Sprint. "As we build some of the sites with the new technology, we will immediately start seeing benefits in roaming in 2012. But as we are doing the incremental spend in '11, '12, '13, we are not going to see a net benefit really start to materialize until about 2013."

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Topics: Networking, Telcos

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7 comments
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  • Too Little, Too Late

    Sprint should focus on it's customer service instead of it's network. What's the use of lowering it's network expenses, if all their customers are running to other companies ?
    And why am I paying more now than I ever did for mobile service if there's supposed to competition among wireless services? (but that's another topic)
    el1jones
    • Not sure what you are talking about... :-O

      @el1jones
      My family plan of 5 phones ran from AT&T to Sprint. It was $220 a month with one smartphone (iPhone), unlimited family SMS and unlimited iPhone data plan. Now it is $250 a month with 5 smartphones (EVO 4G) where all five lines are unlimited on everything. I was a loyal AT&T Wireless --> Singular --> AT&T Mobile customer for 9 years but their network quality was and prices were the culprit for my change (customer service was good but what is good for if your phone calls are bad?).

      Like it was said many times YMMV and you should not curse provider because it does not have right infrastructure/people in your place. No complains here. ;-)
      Solid Water
    • RE: Sprint moves to simplify network; So long Nextel

      @el1jones Indeed - I had Nextel then Sprint for years and the CS was horrible after the merger. I had at one point traded in my Nextel for a WM-based PPC and had a SERO plna which came with unlimited internet (I was paying $41/m AFTER taxes, fees, insurance, messaging plan with 400 min/m and unlimited N&W) and all was well until a few months later Sprint decided to tack on a business internet plan to my account. It took over 3 more months, almost daily emails, weekly phone calls for one of their CS reps to [i]FINALLY[/i] see that my base plan already had internet. This was in addition to dropping 2-3 calls per week. The final straw was being told that I had to HAD TO get thier $99/m Simply Everything plan to get the Samsung Instinct... so when my contract was up I ran to AT&T and iPhone and payed about $5/m more (I added the iPhone to my wife's family plan).
      athynz
  • Sprint's customer service

    Sprint has COMPLETELY overhauled their attitude toward their customers. Everything I have asked for, they have delivered.
    * lower price
    * contract changes
    * resolved service issues
    This is not the same company I bought my first Sprint phone from 12 years ago.
    BrentRBrian
    • RE: Sprint moves to simplify network; So long Nextel

      @BrentRBrian
      @BrentRBrian
      I completely agree. I've been with Sprint for over a decade, and they have completely turned around their CS. I've had friends & family do the hop, skip, & jump from one carrier to another, & they eventually return to Sprint for the price and now improved CS. (The 4 major carriers' networks are pretty much the same in the areas I use.) I actuallyl get service in many places my friends don't using their iPhones and Verizon.

      The only thing I wish would change is access to the iPhone. Most of my friends/family that use something else have iPhones, and they'd all switch in a heartbeat if it were available on anything other than AT&T. I'm out of contract & I'm still waiting to see if it goes to Verizon (may be tempting) or Sprint (unlikely, but we can always hope for a miracle...)
      astraleo
  • RE: Sprint moves to simplify network; So long Nextel

    We have 9 Nextel phones. A couple of them are the i1 Android Smartphone - the only rugged, Direct Connect smartphone there is.

    I myself use close to 1,000 min of Direct Connect a month. Apparently there aren't many people like us, or they wouldn't be phasing out the Nextel network.
    tech_farmer
  • RE: Sprint moves to simplify network; So long Nextel

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