I have been with Nextel since it's launch. I had a Motorola Maxtrac 800 MHz analog trunking mobile in my vehicle. Roaming was accomplished by pushing a system button and choosing a tower to operate from. Then Nextel bought up the spectrum and built out the iDEN network. At first there was no nationwide "roaming". Nextel went after business, construction companies, heavy industry and similar users. The average Joe had a hard time getting approved without a huge deposit unless he/she was a business entity. Clearly they geared this system toward the business two-way radio crowd. The problem I am seeing with the Sprint/Nextel buyout is that Sprint has tried to market and compare iDEN as a "cellular" service. It ISN'T and NEVER WAS! The name iDEN stands for integarted digital enhanced network. Basically it is the same specialized trunked mobile radio network with digital upgrade and linking. It is NOT a cellular system. People like to compare and then complain when it does not measure up. iDEN is the best nationwide digital two-way radio system out there. It is robust, dependable with good penetration and coverage. The Telephone is SECONDARY and the interconnect feature is an "add on" to allow users to access the PSTN. Nextel was designed from the ground floor up as a two-way system with phone patch (interconnect). I have tried all the cellular systems consider iDEN to be a different tool altogether. I like having a well built Motorola radio that is loud and clear, the ability to push one button and have instant two-way with my family, and good coverage/penetration on the two-way side. For my phone I have a Sprint PCS band phone that I yak on all day long. I would never do that on the Nextel network. Sprint is marketing this the wrong way. They should stick to business, public safety, and personal PTT users.... and do it well! They try to market it as a cellular service jamming up the network with too much traffic from phone yakkers. Now they are marketing Boost to gangstas to stand on street corners selling their goodies. It is almost a joke. I hope that the system goes to the government. I have a dual public safety/personal account and will be allowed to operate if that happens. Sprint should get back on track and push heavily to the traditional two-way users and keep the network useable.
hey there, sent ya a pm on this with my thinking here, shorty version of my thoughts is that i like what you`re saying, and can see what you`re getting at, even though i`m pleased to have access (till the HSD guys get it) to great PTT, see my pm for more. N9NRA
dlarson: Good post. Glad to hear from a genuine Nextel customer. You have knowledge and perspective that not even most of us die-hard Nextel iDEN fans have (I've been with Nextel "only" seven years;-).
Even if Sprint-Nextel does heed your words and begins respecting the Nextel iDEN network and customer base for the gem that it is, Sprint has ruined the "Nextel ecosystem" that existed throughout America.
Almost all of the old-line, two-way radio stores, many of them "mom & pop" sized stores that carried Nextel from the beginning and were genuine repair centers, are gone now. They have been effectively run out of business by Sprint's very short-sighted, very high-handed ways. Made them all take down their Nextel signs and put up Sprint signs, and in myriad other ways made it difficult for them to stay in business. It was basically "drink the Sprint corporate kool-aid" and promote Sprint over Nextel, or get out. Most of them got out.
You just TRY to find someone in a modern Sprint-Nextel store that has even SEEN the older model Nextel phones that are still in service today, let alone having a clue how to get them running again. Not only do they not know a blasted thing, they don't even care. All they do care about in today's Sprint-Nextel stores are glitzy phones that can take pictures, do email, listen to music, watch TV and surf the net. The more glitter, the better, as far as today's Sprint-Nextel "store associates" are concerned. Nextel is a small part of today's Sprint-Nextel stores, usually a single display case off to the side.
It is sad and pathetic what "The Sprint Way" has done to Nextel as a whole, and what it has done to the local Nextel repair center stores in particular. All of that knowledge, capability, understanding of (and committment to) what it took to get the customer back up and running as quickly as possible and with the least interruption & hassle. TIme is money, and money is money, and the old-style Nextel repair center stores understood that and got you going again as fast as they could, without suggesting that you should buy a new phone and "while you're at it upgrade to this new plan".
Thanks again for your "straight-from-the-DC-button" post. Please stick around and contribute whenever you can.
Looking to form a team of communicators utilizing iDEN to pass traffic in and out of disaster areas. Since Direct Connect does not use minutes the cost would only be your time. This could snowball into an national movement, and put more value into keeping iDEN on the map. IDEN has the potential to be THE back-up interoperability network for public safety! If it is ever sold to the Gov't CERT would certainly be rolled into the group of authorized users. If you have an iDEN (Nextel) phone and are interested in getting CERT training http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert and starting a network please contact me direct at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am also looking to form a Disaster Radio Network utilizing the 47 MHz "Special Emergency" band so every CERT member would have iDEN, 47 MHz Low Band, and possibly ham radio if authorized. CERT teams using "FRS", "MURS" and CB are not able to communicate very well and are often ignored by OEM/EOC's. I have 30 years experience in Public Safety Communications to contribute.