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 areas.
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 are free.
Sprint is not new to CDMA-based PTT. In 2008,
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.