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.