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6/27/2007
08:54 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Sprint All But Cans Nextel Identity

Sprint is launching a new marketing campaign, and it is all about speed. Conspicuously absent? Any real references to Nextel, which Sprint paid big bucks to merge with a couple of years ago. Does this spell the end of Nextel?

Sprint is launching a new marketing campaign, and it is all about speed. Conspicuously absent? Any real references to Nextel, which Sprint paid big bucks to merge with a couple of years ago. Does this spell the end of Nextel?Well, not entirely. Sprint says it is going to continue to enhance the Nextel National network. But Sprint seems to be refocusing its push-to-talk service, and says it is now going to be powered by "SprintSpeed". (Why can I hear Captain Kirk here? "Mr. Sulu, SprintSpeed, please.") Sprint makes no actual references to its iDEN network. On top of that, Sprint is already offering a slew of "blended" phones, that contain both CDMA and iDEN radios for combined functionality.

Sprint is hoping historical iDEN subscribers will choose these blended devices and eventually be won over by the CDMA features. The design behind this strategy is to get all Nextel iDEN subscribers to shift to CDMA phones so Sprint can sunset the iDEN network.

Speaking of CDMA, the press release speaks of Sprint's new slogan, Sprint Ahead, and how it is going to be the network of the future. There's certainly no reason to complain about the $7 billion that Sprint is going to invest in upgrading its CDMA EV-DO network to Revision A. Rev A will enhance business productivity by providing AirCard users with better wireless connecting speeds on both the uplink and downlink.

"Once you've experienced speed there's no going back," says Rich Silverstein, co-founder of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. "Sprint allows us to get what we want, when we want it, and all at the speed of light. It's truly a magical experience."

Strangely, Sprint barely makes mention of its forthcoming WiMAX network. The 4G technology gets a tiny little shout-out at the end of the press release. Just a few months ago, it seemed Sprint's future hinged on the WiMax network...

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