updated 10:25 pm EDT, Thu April 12, 2012
Transition set for 2014
Sprint is reportedly set to reallocate its 800MHz spectrum to be used for 4G LTE network technology. The company currently uses its 800MHz block for the aging iDEN standard, which is utilized for push-to-talk devices, however network operations president Steve Elfman claims the band eventually will be used for LTE, according to quotes posted by FierceWireless.
The company originally embraced WiMAX as a 4G technology, however it later followed other US carriers and adopted LTE. The LTE network is expected to cover 123 million potential customers by the end of the year, and doubling by the end of 2013.
Elfman suggests the 800MHz transition still depends on moving existing iDEN devices onto another spectrum block, though the number of iDEN customers has already fallen from its peak of 20 million customers down to six million customers. The company plans to move iDEN customers from the 800MHz block to spectrum that is currently utilized for CDMA.
Sprint expects the 800MHz reallocation to be completed by 2014. The company plans to reduce the number of its iDEN cell sites by approximately 9,600 locations, representing a third of its iDEN footprint.