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Will the Boost iDEN Shutdown Effect You?

Although you would be hard pressed to find evidence of it on boostmobile.com, the Sprint and Boost iDEN network is scheduled to be shutdown sometime next year.

As part of its Network Vision project, Sprint is shutting down iDEN so that it can use the spectrum to deploy high speed LTE 4G. That makes perfect sense because iDEN is outdated technology that is expensive to operate and Sprint needs LTE to compete.

If you are a Boost Mobile customer this shutdown will only effect you if you are using a Motorola i Series phone like the i465, i475, i856 or i1. These phones all have the Walkie-Talkie or Push To Talk feature and model names consisting of the letter "i" followed by one to three numbers. About 2 million of Boost's estimated 5 million customers were using iDEN phones at the begiining of 2012.

The shutdown will occur in two phases.

Phase one is shutting down a third of the iDEN towers which will happen this year. The iDEN network, which had 20 million customers a few years ago now only has about 6 million so the network does has lots of extra capacity. According to Sprint, the shutdowns won't effect outdoor coverage, but that in-building coverage may be reduced.

Sprint is using the New Orleans, LA area as a test market for the iDEN shutdown. The surplus iDEN towers were decommissioned in New Orleans earlier this year. Beginning this month and extending through July, Sprint will shut down surplus Nextel towers in the rest of the country.

Phase two is shutting down the rest of the iDEN network. Sprint has said that will happen next year. According to a leaked internal document, Sprint is waiving ETFs (early termination fees) for postpaid iDEN customers in New Orleans who leave between 12/1/2011 and 3/31/2011, so I think Sprint is aiming to finish the the shutdown there by the end on March 2012. For the rest of the county, ETFs will be waived from 2/1/2012 through 7/31/2012 and Sprint has announced that the entire iDEN network will be gone by the end of June next year.

Sprint and Boost are initiating this change, not the user. I expect that Boost will do what they can to help existing Boost iDEN customers switch to Boost CDMA at no cost to the customer. Apparently this is already happening. A Prepaid Phone News reader who called Boost about the shutdown was offered a free CDMA phone. The phone offered was a Motorola C290 or W385. These are both older flip phones without memory card support or a media player. The C290 doesn't even have Bluetooth. Hopefully as the shutdown gets closer Boost will offer to replace iDEN phones with comparable CDMA models. That means CDMA PTT models for customers who use the walkie talkie feature. There are currently no Boost CDMA PTT phones available.

As you would expect, Sprint is treating the more profitable postpaid iDEN customers better. According to TechnoBuffalo, any iDEN postpaid customer can get a new CDMA phone for 99¢. The phones offered are pretty nice too, including the HTC Evo 3D Android phone or four Direct Connect (PTT) phones, the Motorola Admiral, which is a PTT Android along with the ruggedized Kyocera DuraPlus, DuraCore or DuraMax. Postpaid customers do need to sign a new two year contract to get the 99¢ phones so Sprint can afford to be generous.

TechnoBuffalo is also reporting that as of tomorrow, Sprint will no longer sell iDEN phones in its retail stores.

As of today, Boost is still selling a couple of iDEN models on the boostmobile.com website. There is no warning on the sales page that iDEN is going away in just over a year.

If you are Boost iDEN customer and are satisfied with the service, I recommend doing nothing for now, particularly if you use PTT. As the end of iDEN service gets nearer I expect Boost will offer a wider selection of CDMA phones to iDEN customers who want to switch, including CDMA Direct Connect models.

18 comments:

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  1. Wont effect me. I already have a Boost Mobile CDMA Android and would never go back to iDEN

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  2. i have 3 cell lines. my main 1 is on t-mobile monthly 4g. but i have 2extra lines that i put on boost mobile pay as you go which are iden phones. i pay 10bucks every 90days just to keep the lines. i mainly would use the money on those phones to do the 1 a day walkie feature sometimes text or talk but like i said those are just 2extra lines i have. alot of people don't know even know that sprint is shutting down iden like you said 2million are still on boost and 4million on postpaid sprint accounts. my next 10dollar payment is due in June for 1 of my lines i'm going to port the number to t-mobile prepaid which is the same rate 10cents a min/text and then sell my iden phone on craigslist so i won't be stuck with it. perfect time to sell seeing as most people still don't know about iden shutting down. the other number i will port out from boost either at the end of the year or early next year its because i have alot of rollover minutes on it.

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  3. Don't shut off iden tower Nextel hey boost buy ur shares of the towers don't throw away ur costumer you've earn in the last decade please keep walkie talkie services I can't live with out ptt services I love boost mobile walkie talkie services & these new Android phones sucks they don't stand up to what boost mobile can do & that call while ur stuck in ELAVATOR you can call for help & they work while ur waiting for help these android phone don't work in elavator & u can't call anyone for help you have to find a spot in the vacinity & prey you don't move to much cause if not your mournuer out of luck get my drift well boost mobile please fight for a cause & that cause is greatness & over the year that what your company's given me for the last few decades I bin useing ur services thank you for listings yours sincerely K.M.G.V.A UR NUMBER 1#COSTUMER STANDING UP FOR YOU LUV BOOST MOBILE HEY WHERE YOU AT ,') .

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  4. I have not bin able to call out or text since 7 days now ,contacted boost mobile via e mail of course and they wrote back ,they can't get a hold of me lol ,the towers are down lol,little disappointed in boost mobile customer service,they should have let people know about being without service for so long.......

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  5. I paid $400 for an I1 phone a little over a year ago.Boost said they understand my problem and sent me a $10 phone.Does anyone know what can be done with the i1 once the network is shut down?I know one option is to trash it.I contacted the office of Andre Smith president of Boost,but apparently a don't care attitude has been adopted.

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    Replies
    1. As a fellow i1 owner I'm disappointed, but not surprised, that Boost isn't replacing iDEN phones with comparable CDMA models for users effected by the iDEN network shut down.

      For what it's worth, after the shutdown the i1 browser and apps should still work on WiFi. You will also be able to use it as a camera and music player.

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    2. They have a buy back program.

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    3. sell it to mexico!!! nextel is still alive there

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  6. I HAVE HAD BOOST FOR ABOUT 7 MONTHS I AM ON THE SWRINKAGE PLAN AND I TO HAVE A i1 PHONE MY SERVICE ON THIS PHONE IS HORRIABLE BOOST SENT ME A BLACKBERRY CURVE AND ONCE I WENT TO ACTIVATE THE PHONE IT WAS GOING TO BE 55.00 A MONTH INSTEAD OF THE 45.00 WHICH I AM PAYING NOW WHY WOULD I WANT TO PAY MORE WHEN MY BILL IS LESS NOW

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    Replies
    1. Unfortunately $55 sounds correct:

      The i1 was on the $50/month unlimited plan. You were paying $45 so you must have had $5 shrinkage.

      The Blackberry unlimited plan is $60/month - $5 shrinkage = $55

      If you don't need data you could switch to the $45/month ($40 with shrinkage) BlackBerry messenger plan

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  7. I live in the greater salt lake city area and received a text on my i1 about a month ago stating that as of July 2013 iDen service would no longer be available...

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  8. Also, that my monthly unlimited plan would increase $10 per month until then starting Nov 2012...

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  9. If you have paid big bucks for an iden i1 which is being deactivated or having your plan increase by $10 contact helenz@zlaw.com.

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  10. Im an over 10 yr nextel/sprint user and am very dissapointed. the nextel phones worked perfect on the sprint towers in my area.( im up north)and my old phone was ruined by water so i replaced it with one of Sprints Kyocera flip phone for .99 cents and i asked to NOT BE ON CONTRACT becouse i havent been for a few years and was happy.well i was told by the operator i would NOT be on a contract! then another person whom asks you if you agree to everything i discussed with the seller i said yes and then when i got my bill i was being charged just under $70.00 for monthly unlimited service, not counting the other charges they like to tack on, and They put me on A 2 Year contract EVEN AFTER WE DISCUSSED THAT I DIDNT WANT TO.! then my bill goes up an additional $10.00 in January then its going up Another $10.00 this month!!!! I am looking Elsewhere for a phone now and cant believe the complications associated with sooo many HIGH PRICED phones that are not good.why cant these companys help others BY Not RIPPING US Off!!!

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  11. BOOST is PRE PAID, they don´t have contracts. If you let the SPRINT division trick you into a contract, PLEASE post your name and contact information. I have some swamp land I want to talk to you about. What a CLOWN !

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  12. I own a Nextel Mexico Phone, and it's not working when I travel to Texas, Just work when I cross comeback to Mexico,

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  13. so all the Nextel phones here in the usa are not working anymore in the usa will somebody let me know :)

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    Replies
    1. Correct, the iDEN network that Nextel phones used has been shut down.

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