The Nextel brand may be nearing the end of its life thanks to the $5 billion network upgrade project Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) will start implementing next year. The project, dubbed Network Vision, will include phasing out the company's iDEN network beginning in 2013. iDEN is the underlying technology that is associated with the Nextel brand name.
Paget Alves, president of business markets at Sprint, told Bloomberg that Sprint may rename Nextel or allow the brand to die out. Sprint acquired Nextel Communications in 2005 for $36 billion. Since then the company has battled to keep iDEN subscribers. In the first three quarters of 2010, the number of Sprint's iDEN subscribers dropped 18 percent to 10.6 million.
Before it was acquired by Sprint, Nextel was known for providing its popular push-to-talk service to a variety of different vertical markets including public safety and construction.
Sprint said work on its network project will begin next year. Sprint plans to improve the quality and in-building penetration of its 1900 MHz CDMA network and maximize its spectrum holdings in the 800 MHz, 1900 MHz and 2.5 GHz bands. By improving the coverage of its CDMA network, Sprint argues it can reduce roaming costs since customers will not be roaming onto competitors' networks as much. The company also plans to migrate iDEN customers to CDMA and offer new push-to-talk services on its CDMA network beginning in 2011. The company plans to use its 800 MHz spectrum for voice and eventually take advantage of 1X Advanced technology.
- see this Bloomberg article
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