Overland Park, Kan. - Sprint is
delivering on plans for a fourth-quarter launch of push-to-talk (PTT) service
on its CDMA network.
The carrier plans an
Oct. 2 launch for its
Sprint Direct Connect service, which promises multiple advantages over
the carrier's current iDEN-network PTT service, including broader coverage and
better in-building penetration. The carrier is phasing out its bandwidth-constricted
low-data-speed iDEN network beginning 2013.
The IP-based PTT service will
deliver iDEN-like sub-second call setup time in Sprint CDMA Rev. A coverage
In early 2012, the carrier
expects to expand CDMA PTT coverage to match its CDMA voice coverage area,
which offers almost three times the square miles covered by Sprint's iDEN
network. Also in 2012, the carrier will begin rolling out international PTT
calling to select countries.
To support the fourth-quarter
launch, Sprint will offer three Sprint Direct Connect devices, the first of
which will be the Kyocera DuraMax. It will be available Oct. 2 for $69.99 with
a new two-year service agreement or eligible upgrade and after a $50 mail-in
rebate when purchased directly from Sprint.
The Kyocera phone features
ruggedized exterior, non-slip Dura-Grip surface, 2-inch QVGA TFT main display,
3.2-megapixel with flash and camcorder, and compliance with Military Standard
810G for dust, shock, vibration, extreme temperatures, blowing rain and water
immersion (up to 30 minutes in 1 meter of water). A Motorola-made Android
smartphone is also expected in the fourth quarter.
Initial Sprint Direct Connect features will include: Direct
Connect one-to-one PTT calling nationwide to any other Direct
Connect subscriber; Group
Connect PTT communication with up to 20 other Sprint Direct
Connect subscribers all a time; and TeamDC communication with up to
200 other Sprint Direct Connect subscribers at a time.
Features also include Call Alert with Text,
letting a user send an audio alert with an optional text message
to let other subscribers know they are trying to be reached and why; NextMail,
which lets users send a recorded message to any email worldwide
or to a mobile handset by using the Direct Connect button; and Availability
Notification, which lets users request the availability status of
another PTT subscriber and, if they are busy, request a notification when they
Sprint is not new to CDMA-based
PTT. In 2008, the
company launched Qualcomm's QChat PTT technology on CDMA Rev. A phones but
stopped marketing it the following year. The decision was made in part because
the carrier at the time decided to hold onto its iDEN network for awhile
longer. In addition, the technology suffered from poor in-building coverage
because it operated only in the 1.9GHz band, whereas the iDEN-network PTT
operated in the 800MHz band, the company has said.