TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Sprint's Merger With Nextel

Re: Sprint's Merger With Nextel

Isaiah Beard (
Tue, 21 Dec 2004 10:07:10 -0500

Unfortunately, analysts still fail to grasp something that most people
who have a knowledge of wireless have known for years:

Marcus Didius Falco wrote:

> Its main strength is its acclaimed push to talk feature, which allows
> Nextel handsets to be used like walkie-talkies, though the calls are in
> fact routed over the cellular network.
^^^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^

Even if you use the term loosely, there is no real "cellular network"
in iDEN, at least not in the same sense as other cellular carriers.
Nextel's network is really just a glorified SMR network, originally
intended by Motorola for use as a digital walkie-talkie network that
just *happens* to have a very good phone patch built in. Nextel was
originally known as Fleet Call, and was originally an analog two-way
radio operator until they converted their systems to digital, and then
bought up their competitors and converted theirs too... annoying quite
a few business customers in the process, too and raising antitrust
concerns as they began to monopolize the SMR industry (see for an example).

However, Nextel discovered that people didn't want a two-way radio
that happened to have cell phone capability for the occasional phone
call ... they instead wanted a cell phone that happened to have a
built in two-way radio for the occasional dispatch call. And this is
where the "Dead end" lies. More than twice the bandwidth was needed
to handle a duplex phone call than a dispatch call, and as a result,
iDEN's capacity was taxed from the beginning.

If you look back at old iDEN handsets, you can see the obvious
distinctions (i.e. ). They were designed
more as walkie-talkies with phone keypads attached. Since the big
paradigm shift, the handsets have gotten much sleeker.

E-mail fudged to thwart spammers.
Transpose the c's and a's in my e-mail address to reply.

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