Sprint is giving its WiMax customers slightly more than a year to upgrade their phones and wireless modems running on the once promising high-speed network technology.
Customers are expected to receive letters in the mail as soon as today notifying them that they have about 180 days, or until Nov. 6, 2015, to get new devices, WirelessWeek reports.
Sunseting network technologies is nothing new in the industry, with older technologies often being shutdown to free up spectrum for new ones. But with WiMax, it’s simply the case of of it losing out to other more popular 4G technologies, like LTE. Both Sprint and Clearwire rolled out WiMax networks early on in the race to provide 4G, but last year Sprint acquired Kirkland, Wash.-based Clearwire consolidating the two major players.
Sprint, which is the nation’s third largest carrier, is now planning on using Clearwire’s spectrum 2.5 GHz holdings to roll-out an LTE offering it calls Sprint Spark. After a failed attempt to merge with T-Mobile, the company’s new CEO, Marcelo Claure, has said it is wants to leverage the spectrum in order to go back to its roots of offering unlimited wireless plans.
Sprint is facing tough competition, not only from Verizon and AT&T, but also from the surging T-Mobile, whose CEO John Legere has said multiple times that he expects T-Mobile to surpass Sprint in total subscribers by the end of the year.