The final shutdown of Sprint's legacy iDEN network now has a date, albeit not a hard one. Sprint has announced that the last of the iDEN cell towers, which served some 6 million customers using push-to-talk or other services as of last month, will be going dark as early as June 30th, 2013. Business and government customers will receive written notices starting June 1st, and anyone who wants to continue using push-to-talk can migrate to Sprint's CDMA-based Direct Connect system. From now until 2013, the company will decommission many of its iDEN towers in order to free up spectrum for CDMA and LTE.
Although Sprint is still allowing for a later shutdown date, it's significantly speeding up the move away from iDEN. Since 2010, when the company first announced it would be phasing out the system, it gave current customers until 2017; last month, it had changed that to sometime in 2013. The replacement Direct Connect network launched last year and will be expanded throughout 2012.