Sprint will kill iDEN next year to make room for better 3G and more 4G

As many Good and EVO and Pocketables readers know, Sprint has long been plagued with pretty terrible 3G data speeds in many parts of the country, and non-existent 4G coverage in some fairly major markets. And while I’ve been experiencing better speeds on my new HTC EVO 4G LTE, they’re still not always where they should be. However, Sprint is working on fixing all of this, and its recent announcement that it will finally kill iDEN next year should be welcome news for the rest of us, who want that spectrum to go towards creating a better data experience.

Last week, Sprint announced that the former Nextel network would be put to rest on June 30, 2013, and it began alerting affected customers yesterday. iDEN uses spectrum in the 800MHz band, which Sprint eventually hopes to use for both enhanced 3G and its fledgling 4G LTE network. Currently, Sprint is making use of its 1900MHz spectrum for both.

800MHz has the advantage of penetrating buildings better, providing far better indoor coverage. Fortunately, EVO 3D and EVO 4G LTE customers are both already equipped to take advantage of the better 3G coverage, which Sprint has been slowly rolling out nationwide as part of its Network Vision plans. Unfortunately, EVO 3D customers can’t make use of any LTE coverage expansions, since they’re restricted to WiMAX; additionally, EVO 4G LTE customers won’t be able to make use of LTE at 800MHz, as the phone is only equipped for 1900MHz LTE.

However, this shouldn’t be a major problem: Sprint doesn’t even plan to begin rolling out LTE at 800MHz until 2014, much later than the death-date for iDEN. Therefore, most EVO 4G LTE customers will be ready for a new upgrade, anyway. Additionally, Sprint is still committed to rolling out LTE on 1900MHz over most of its 3G footprint by the end of 2013, so don’t let this news persuade you from upgrading if you had already planned to.

In any case, I’m glad that Sprint will finally be able to more efficiently use some of its existing spectrum as it continues to make coverage better. And I think most EVO owners reading this now won’t feel sad about the loss of iDEN, but will rather join me in saying, “Good riddance!”

[CNET]
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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.