updated 04:00 pm EDT, Wed July 3, 2013
Shutdown will generate millions of pounds of e-waste to be recycled
A few days after the scheduled shutdown, all branches of Sprint's iDEN national network it acquired when it absorbed Nextel have been shut down. At this time, all iDEN devices have been cut off from voice service, 911 calls, and perhaps its most important selling point, push-to-talk service.
Sprint announced plans in the fourth quarter of 2010 to phase out the iDEN Nextel National Network as part of its Network Vision plan. The company declared on May 29, 2012, that it planned to cease service on the network as early as June 30, 2013. During the past year, Sprint has extensively notified customers of the impending shutdown and encouraged early migration from the iDEN Nextel National Network to avoid service disruptions.
Sprint will recycle nearly all of the iDEN network equipment that it can't reuse including cables, batteries, and the concrete shelters that many iDEN cell sites occupy. The projected result of the effort is a staggering amount of recycled network gear and other materials weighing more than 100 million pounds.
Sprint will gut hundreds of cell sites of obsolete iDEN equipment and will stage it all for recycling vendors. Most concrete shelters that house iDEN cell sites will be crushed and turned into composite for roads and bridges. Sites where CDMA and LTE equipment is co-located will be left intact, minus the iDEN gear.
When decommissioning of the iDEN network is complete, nearly 30,000 iDEN installations will have been taken off the air. The iDEN recycling project is expected to continue into early 2014. Sprint is using the freed bandwidth to grow its LTE network.