This story has been updated with comment from FreedomPop.
Sprint has confirmed it will shut down its WiMAX network around the first week of November next year.
“Sprint will cease operating the Sprint 4G WiMAX network on or about November 6, 2015,” a Sprint spokesperson told Wireless Week.
News of the shutdown originally surfaced when Android Central published a Sprint internal email. The memo states that starting Oct. 6 letters are being sent to corporate-liable customers and that individual-liable and prepaid customers will be notified 180 days before the scheduled shutdown.
The letters detail Sprint’s intention to not support any WiMAX services after Nov. 5, 2015 or any service extensions past Nov. 6, 2015. Dual-band WiMAX/3G devices will continue to work on Sprint’s 3G network after the shutdown but the carrier plans to offer some low- and no-cost LTE and Sprint Spark devices to affected customers.
A Sprint spokesperson said that most WiMAX subscribers are upgrade eligible due to the age of their device. In addition, offers are being planned for targeted postpaid WiMAX subscribers prior to the WiMAX network shutdown.
FreedomPop, a Sprint MVNO that sells WiMAX-compatible devices, says it’s had an LTE swap program in place for the last year for customers who want or need to replace their WiMAX device. FreedomPop says it’s currently doing a few thousand WiMAX device swaps a month.
Sprint last year finalized its acquisition of Clearwire and in the process took possession of the company’s vast 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings. The carrier has been busy integrating 2.5 GHz into its tri-band LTE offering, dubbed Sprint Spark.