On March 9, 2012, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking ("NPRM") to adopt new rules in the 800 MHz band. At the
time only 25 kHz channels, which are suitable for voice and SMS
messaging, were allowed in the band. These channels were not
intended for 3G and future 4G technologies, which require more
Since Sprint Nextel and other commercial SMR licensees within
the 800 MHz band needed to be able to use advanced digital
technologies in order to compete in the future of broadband
communications, the company requested that the Commission make a
rule change allowing the larger channels.
On May 24, 2012, the Commission voted unanimously to remove
technical restrictions on the 800 MHz band, allowing the deployment
of 3G and 4G LTE service on the spectrum, which should clear the
way for Sprint Nextel to deploy CDMA and eventually LTE.
This week, Sprint Nextel announced that it plans to shut down
service on its 2G iDEN network as early as June 2013. This is part
of the company's Network Vision plan. Sprint has already begun the
process of decommissioning iDEN cell sites, as we've previously posted.
Shutting down Sprint's iDEN network, which the company announced
in late 2010, is a piece of its Network Vision upgrade that will
enable the deployment of new, multi-mode base stations. As part of
the upgrade, Sprint plans to deploy LTE first in its 1900 MHz PCS
spectrum and then later on the 800 MHz spectrum currently reserved
for iDEN service.
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