Are you still using Nextel's Sprint's iDEN network? If so, that means either you love the little beep it makes or you're working in the construction field with a boss who won't upgrade. That's because right now, in 2012, there are still 2.3 million postpaid and 800,000 pre-paid customers still using Sprint's acquired 2G network. 2G is worse than T-Mobile's fake 4G network for those keeping score at home. Because of the strikingly large number of people still using the network, combined with Sprint's desire to shut it off by June of 2013, Sprint has decided to encourage users to get off the network sooner rather than later.
How? Sprint will be charging all subscribers who still use the iDEN network an additional $10 per month beginning January 1st. That'll teach 'em! Sprint's spokesman Mark Bonavia said this week that the company has already begun notifying customers of the change via e-mail, physical mail and text messaging. The $10 price increase will only affect Nextel and PowerSource brand users, with those using Sprint's CDMA network remaining unaffected by this change. On the decision, Bonavia added,
Customers that migrate prior to January will likely find a price plan comparable to what they have now. They are also eligible to receive a variety of very attractive device offers.
Sprint has been trying to slowly ax iDEN since 2007, but the 2 million-plus subscribers have been loyal to the brand, making it hard to quickly cut ties. Now, with the new age of technology and faster 4G networks becoming available, Sprint wants to free up the iDEN spectrum for something else and put those users onto the faster networks, capable of handling more data. Unfortunately for Sprint, Nextel customers have noticed the lack of love for the fading brand and have left in droves, with 866,000 postpaid subscribers leaving during the third quarter of the year. Sprint was able to retain 59 percent of them, though, successfully transitioning those users to the Sprint side of things.
It is also important to note that the Nextel name will be going away for good come June, because of Softbank's acquisition of 70 percent of Sprint. The company said that when the approval goes through, which should be around summer of next year, it will drop the "Nextel" brand completely. So, while a beloved, older technology fades into the background like that of the Startac, one can only hope a new technology, like enhanced push-to-talk - which will be offered on AT&T's Samsung Rugby II next week - comes to Sprint, keeping its chirp connoisseurs happy for years to come.