For the first time in six years, Sprint’s(s S) aging Nextel and wireline businesses didn’t overwhelm all positive gains from its primary CDMA business in its quarterly results. Sprint was helped along by 1.8 million iPhone activations, leading to big gains in revenue per subscriber and boosting its total wireless customers to a record 55 million. Still, Sprint is anxious to get rid of the Nextel albatross and spent a good of its fourth quarter financial earnings call detailing its plans to shut down the iDEN network.

Sprint plans to winnow down its total cell sites by 44 percent, from 68,000 towers to 38,000 over the next two years, said Steve Elfman, Sprint president of network operations and wholesale. In 2011, Sprint plans to decommission 9,600 towers by culling cell sites from many of its markets, maintaining its Nextel and Boost Mobile services while shutting down excess capacity. Sprint…

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