Sprint to shutdown Nextel network

Sprint to shutdown Nextel network

Sprint has announced that it will begin shutting down its Nextel national network from June 30 2013.

The company also announced that it has entered into a $1 billion credit facility with Deutsche Bank and a syndicate of other banks to fund purchases of network equipment from Ericsson, likely to be used for its LTE rollout.

By shutting down the iDEN Nextel network, Sprint will free up spectrum to use for LTE services, which it plans to launch this summer.

Sprint’s LTE launch is considered vital for the company’s revival strategy in the US, with its competitors Verizon Wireless and AT&T having already deployed LTE services.

Up until recent months, the company had aggressively targeted investment in WiMAX, an alternative 4G service to LTE. Industry watchers have commented this is what has left the company behind other major competitors in the US.

Customers using the Nextel network will be sent written notices and given the option of transferring to the Sprint’s Direct Connect push to talk service, which operates on the company’s 3G CDMA network.

In its first quarter financial results, Sprint announced a net loss of $863 million compared to a net loss of $439 million the previous year. This was attributed to accelerated depreciation as a result of the expected shutdown of the Nextel platform.

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