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Can the BlackBerry 8350i help save Sprint-Nextel?

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One of the surprises of CTIA last week was the stealth announcement of the Sprint-Nextel BlackBerry 8350i for their oft-neglected iDEN network — if I remember correctly, the last iDEN BlackBerry was the 7100i (ugh). One of the major reasons Sprint has been hemorrhaging subscribers recently is a lack of quality devices, and the release of a sleek BlackBerry to satisfy their nearly 10 million iDEN subscribers could help stop the bleeding.

However, analyst Craig Moffett of Sanford C. Bernstein doesn’t share my rosy outlook, mostly because of the current economic and wireless climate: in short, wireless subscriber growth is slowing, which doesn’t bode well for Sprint-Nextel picking up lost ground. Here’s a question: would anyone jump to Nextel because of the BlackBerry 8350i?

(via CN)

Sprint to update aging iDEN line?

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BlackBerrySync got the scoop on Sprint-Nextel CEO Dan Hesse’s speech at CTIA, where he said they’ll be replacing the iDEN-capable 7100i with a new BlackBerry equipped with iDEN and Wi-Fi. Though they’ve been on the ball with other BlackBerry releases, iDEN-capable phones have been pushed to the wayside. The 7100i was originally released way, way back in October of 2005. Push-To-Talk features — which is what iDEN does best — aren’t exactly deal-breakers to most people, I know, but two and a half years between releases seems a little excessive. There’s no word yet on what model they’ll be replacing it with, so we’ll have to wait on the details.

FCC threatens to pull plug on Nextel

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StompyBack before its acquisition by Sprint, Nextel’s airwaves were overlapping a little too much with fire department and police radio frequencies, causing a bit of a stir. Nextel promised the FCC to fix the issue, and were on board to make a complete switch even after being bought up by Sprint. Well, they’re trying to buy more time, but the FCC isn’t listening. If Sprint can’t meet the deadline, Nextel’s some 20-odd million subscribers could have the plug pulled on them. Hopefully this is just big talk on the FCC’s part to light a fire under Sprint to get the rebanding done, but if not, there could be even more unhappy Sprint customers in the world.