It’s official, Sprint finally shuts down Nextel network to make way for more 4G LTE’s


It was a long time coming, but late Sunday night the inevitable finally happened — Sprint finally pulled the plug on their aging Nextel network. It was a long time coming, and Sprint has been actively notifying the few users still using the network with their dusty old cellphones.

Also known as iDEN devices, these were characteristically known around the world by their trademark “chirp” notification that allowed construction workers and drug dealers to effectively use the device as a long distance walkie-talkie.

More than 20,000 total Nextel sites were shut down, and even though Sprint had more than 1.3 million customers still using the network back in March, Sprint Network chief Bob Azzi promised only a “very, very small” amount of traffic remained before they finally went black.

Moving forward, the next 18 months to 2 years will see Sprint repurposing the airwaves for their 4G LTE network, with new sites going live over the next few months. Goodbye, Sprint Nextel. Hello, Softbank-owned Sprint Corp.

[via WSJ]

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  • Mark2468

    RIP Nextel, we had some good times together back in 06.

    • Chris Chavez


      • tomn1ce

        *chirp, chirp*

  • Eyad (formerly CTownOL)

    If AT&T finds international backing then we should be able to make free international calls on any carrier or at least call your carrier’s international owner for free…

    • UMA_Fan

      I doubt it or the foreignly owned Tmobile and would have done this years ago.

      • Eugene C. Klapheke III

        Verizon is Foreign owned? Did I miss that memo?

        • bronxboi

          Yes, Verizion Wireless, is a partnership between Verizon and Vodaphone (UK)

      • SteveBozell

        Actually, Sprint is reccomending an app called “Voxer”. I actually had Voxer on a real old phone on 2G service.

        Voxer works real well. It’s an app, that you can install on any phone.

        Back in 2003, Nokia 5140 had walkie-talkie functions that worked globally. But I think Motorola would have sued Nokia if it was sold in the US.

  • chuckles87

    Where you at?

    • Jason Farrell

      Speak right, yo! — Where you is?

      • No_Nickname90

        But the slogan was “Where you at”? =./

  • Jordan Long

    “to make way for more 4G LTE’s”

    Not sure how that was intended to read but shutting down iDen means the 800 band can be used for LTE and CDMA (voice) coverage.

    the change will improve rural and indoor coverage.

    • Montisaquadeis

      There was great iDen coverage around here hopefully it means I can bunch back to boost mobile once we get devices out using the spectrum.

    • SteveBozell

      Good point, but don’t forget- as a prerequisite, you have to buy a new phone, and likely sign a new contract.

  • Jordan Caviness

    i loved my chirp back in 2003!!!!! and funny u mentioned drugdealers…the moto i90, did help me move a few packs as a dumb teenager….much wiser now RIP Nextel

  • basschica

    Bwahaha drug dealers and construction workers… TRUTH! Oh, and don’t forget creepers that wanted to broadcast their conversations. I’ll never forget this slimy creeper that worked at an Internet provider that I worked at in college. He was on the phone with “a buddy” bragging about how he was going to take his gf on a helicopter or plane ride color tour thing and how he was going to join the “mile high” club. I’m like, right buddy….on a puddle jumper or helicopter, you’re really going to be able to do that. It’s not even going to have a bathroom or more than a couple rows of seats.

    • Alexander Ramirez

      I hated those people that had full on conversations like that. Freaking annoying.

  • gphillimo

    haha i used to sell weed using the chirp, so that “drug dealers” line made me laugh so hard. That was back in high school though. Kids do crazy things.

  • ac

    It’s about time. So, can we assume that the 18 month – 2 year timeframe will really translate to double that amount of time, for Sprint to get the towers LTE ready? They’re already behind on their Network Vision plans and many of the people, that were initially patient enough to wait, have jumped ship. I’m locked in for at least another year and considering Sprint’s signal at my house is stronger than all the rest, I don’t plan on leaving, but I’d really like to see more consistent 3G data speeds, let alone LTE/4G. So, PLEASE hurry up Spank (Sprint/Softbank)!

  • chris420o

    ill miss nextel…miss the days of making money modding cell phones with clear cases and flashing lights and the birth of the ringtone with actual words in it….the good ol days bleepin my boy to get the f outside im waiting and putting it on private when the woman called…ah those were the days young in the bronx not a care in the world but easy money and having fun…now itsa full time job and status updates…how times have changed

  • Greg

    Next 18 months to 2 years?? I was told by Sprint and seen in other articles, the end of 2013 to first quarter 2014 most of the country should be covered. I cant deal with 3G anymore, internet use way too slow. When contract up may switch to Verizon.

  • Richard Soper

    Cannot wait for my contract with Sprint to be done. Worst service Ive ever had. Id even prefer Metro PCS to them at this point.