Overland Park, Kan. - Sprint
plans a fourth-quarter launch of its next-generation push-to-talk (PTT) service
over its CDMA network.
The service, to be branded Sprint Direct
Connect, promises multiple advantages over the carrier's current iDEN-network
PTT service, including broader coverage and better in-building penetration.
The carrier previously announced plans to
phase out its bandwidth-constricted iDEN network beginning 2013 as part of its
Network Vision initiative, designed to consolidate the carrier's separate 800MHz
iDEN and 1.9GHz CDMA networks into one network. The base stations in the new
network would use iDEN and CDMA technologies, and possibly Mobile WiMAX and
LTE, to enhance coverage and speed and reduce operating costs, the company has
The new PTT service will deliver
iDEN-like sub-second call setup time in Sprint CDMA Rev. A coverage areas and
will expand that performance to additional areas as Network Vision improvements
are made, the company said.
Sprint Direct Connect will launch with
ruggedized handsets from Motorola Mobility and Kyocera, all featuring PTT
capabilities as well as high-speed data, high-resolution cameras, Bluetooth and
PTT interoperability with all existing Sprint PTT devices. The handsets will include a rugged camera
flip phone and an Android smartphone with touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard. In 2012, Sprint said it expects to expand its
PTT handset selection.
Sprint expects its CDMA PTT devices to enable
group PTT for up to 200 participants, Land Mobile Radio (LMR) interoperability,
and availability notification. In early 2012, the company expects to add more
capabilities, including international PTT.
With the rollout of the new CDMA
PTT service, the PTT coverage footprint will increase to almost 2.7 million
square miles to cover a population of 309 million, in part through CDMA 1xrtt
and roaming coverage. That's up from the iDEN network's 908,370-square-mile
footprint covering a population of 278 million.
As Sprint's PTT customer base shifts to more
broadband-centric CDMA-based PTT, the carrier expects to phase out iDEN cell
sites beginning in 2013.
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 not to sell off the iDEN network but to hold
onto it 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.
Overland Park, Kan. - Sprint plans a fourth-quarter launch of its next-generation push-to-talk (PTT) service over its CDMA network