Inside Sprint Now, a blog by a Sprint customer care employee, is reporting that as of this Friday, May 18th, iDEN phones will no longer be available from Sprint.com, telesales, customer care and the Sprint Wireless Advantage Club. The article doesn't mention boostmobile.com but it includes the statement that "After Friday, the only place to purchase an iDEN device will be a 3rd Party retail store that carries Boost Mobile devices." which makes it sound like iDEN phones will be gone from boostmobile.com after May 18th too.
The Inside Sprint Now post contains a scan of a frequently asked questions document that's going out to Boost retailers. The document repeats much of what we have already heard about "surplus" iDEN towers being shut down now through early July as well as the total shutdown of the iDEN network midyear 2013. But it also includes several new nuggets of information
- After July 10, 2012 Boost will no longer activate new Boost accounts. Existing Boost iDEN subscribers will still be able to switch between iDEN phones until service is shut down in the middle of next year.
- Boost dealers selling iDEN phones should warn customers that the iDEN network is projected to be shut down in mid-2013. If the customer is not a "heavy" walkie-talkie user, the dealer should suggest that they switch to a CDMA phone.
- There may be offers at a latter date to encourage users to switch to a CDMA phone.
- The document acknowledges that there are no Boost CDMA push to talk (PTT - Walkie Talkie) phones and suggest steering PTT users to an Android CDMA phone running one of the "multiple walkie-talkie apps in the Google Play Store".
My take is that it looks like the iDEN shutdown is proceeding on schedule. Boost needs be doing all they can to discourage customers from buying iDEN phones and warn them that iDEN will be shut down in a year. Ceasing sales of iDEN phones on boostmobile.com is a good good. Hopefully dealers, including online sites, that continue to sell iDEN phones will warn customers about the shutdown.
I'm concerned that there are still no Boost CDMA PTT phones available. I'm stating to worry that Boost isn't going to release a CDMA PTT phone at all.
The Android app solution is not a good substitute for dedicated PTT phones. None of the current Android walkie talkie apps can connect with iDEN PTT phones or with the CDMA Direct Connect phones either. Sprint is promising to release an inter-operable Android PTT app soon, but says it will only work on "select" Android phones. How well it will work and if it will work on Boost Android phones is unknown. Plus an Android PTT app does nothing for Boost iDEN pay as you go users as Android phones are not allowed on pay as you go. iDEN's time has passed and it needs to be gone to make room for modern technologies but Boost iDEN users should not lose PTT regardless of whether they are on Unlimited or pay as you go,