Gartner Blog Network


New Life For Sprint’s iDEN Network

by Phillip Redman  |  December 2, 2009  |  2 Comments

When Sprint announced its acquisition of Nextel five years ago this month, I anticipated that Sprint would shut down or sell-off its Nextel unit while transitioning its users to push-to-talk (PTT) services over its CDMA technology. Sprint thought so (and publicly announced it) too and eventually turned down investing in iDEN technology. Five years later, through subsequent network quality issues, mishaps in rebanding, declining sales, increasing churn, Sprint announces that instead, it will discontinue support for PTT over CDMA using Qchat, and continue to invest in iDEN PTT. They even offer a few devices that converge both iDEN and CDMA networks for those that want both. And every operator sells their flavor of PTT today anyway, but Sprint’s remains the best. But does it make sense to continue balancing multiple network technologies and going to a single source (Motorola) for iDEN network infrastructure and most of its devices?

What is Sprint’s strategy here? In the past few years, Sprint’s strategy seems to have been to not have one specifically–but be all things to all people. How’s that working out? Not so good it seems. Even though Sprint has improved financially in 2009, it still lags its competitors in net subscriber additions, leads in churn for some segments–and continues to lose enterprise mobile market share to AT&T, Verizon–and even to T-Mobile this year.

I’m glad to see Sprint has a strategy for iDEN, CDMA, WiMAX (through it’s Clearwire venture) I just don’t know think if it’s the right one. Rather than be all things, it should really pick one and just be the best. A focus would surely turn both its reputation in the enterprise and its finances around.

Category: 

Tags: att  cellular  sprint  t-mobile  verizon  

Phillip Redman
Research VP
10 years at Gartner
17 years IT industry

Phillip Redman is a research vice president in Gartner Research, where he leads mobile research in the network services and infrastructure group. Mr. Redman brings almost 15 years of experience in the wireless mobile and telecommunications industry… . Read Full Bio


Thoughts on New Life For Sprint’s iDEN Network


  1. liss says:

    I’m glad to see Sprint has a strategy for iDEN,
    Abercrombie Jeans
    Abercrombie Pants
    CDMA, WiMAX (through it’s Clearwire venture) I just don’t know think if it’s the right one. Rather than be all things, it should really pick one and just be the best. A focus would surely turn both its reputation in the enterprise and its finances around.

  2. Phillip Redman says:

    I agree–though they just don’t see it that way.



Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.