Sprint (NYSE: S) today announced plans to expand its gold-standard push-to-talk leadership, unveiling fourth-quarter launch plans for next-generation push-to-talk capabilities powered by Sprint’s broadband CDMA network.
Capacity and Applications - Sprint Direct Connect service is being built to deliver higher bandwidth capacity to keep up with customers’ demand for data. Sprint also is working to deliver enhanced applications on Sprint Direct Connect, best-ever in-building coverage and is planning to provide triple the square-mile reach of Sprint’s current push-to-talk service.
Devices - Sprint Direct Connect will launch with an initial portfolio of rugged devices from Motorola Mobility and Kyocera. The planned portfolio will include an ultra-rugged camera flip phone and an Android™ Smartphone with a touch screen and a QWERTY keyboard. In 2012, Sprint expects to expand its push-to-talk portfolio, adding more devices with new form factors and features.
Push-to-talk Coverage and In-Building Use –
Push-to-talk coverage footprint is planned to increase to nearly 2.7 million square miles and is expected to cover a population of 309 million (with the addition of 1xrtt and roaming coverage) – an increase from the iDEN network’s 908,370 square miles covering a population 278 million.
In-building coverage is expected to improve significantly through investment in the most advanced CDMA technology and radio equipment.
Voice and data capacity is expected to increase significantly as Sprint will be able to fully leverage its industry leading spectrum holdings in 800 MHz, 1.9 GHz, and – through its partnership with Clearwire – 2.5 GHz.
Sprint Direct Connect and Network Vision
Sprint Direct Connect service is a tangible benefit of Network Vision, Sprint’s blueprint to deploy a cost-effective and innovative network. Announced in December, Network Vision is expected to consolidate multiple network technologies into one seamless network resulting in enhanced coverage, quality and speed; better network flexibility; reduced operating costs; and improved environmental sustainability. The plan includes a complete upgrade of Sprint’s current wireless networks accompanied by changes in device chipsets and network infrastructure.
More push-to-talk enabled devices including handsets, rugged devices, and PDAs that combine industry leading push-to-talk and mobile broadband data services over a larger coverage area.
Enhanced features for push-to-talk users on the new CDMA platform.
Interoperability with all existing Sprint push-to-talk devices.
During the nationwide implementation of Network Vision, Sprint expects to continue operating the iDEN network at current best-ever performance levels. As the customer base shifts to more broadband-centric push-to-talk applications on the CDMA network and Sprint launches Sprint Direct Connect, iDEN cell sites are expected to be phased out in 2013.
Sprint plans to identify customers who require custom push-to-talk solutions and assist with their migration to the CDMA network. The company also plans to engage partners in developing a robust portfolio of push-to-talk accessories and involve developers in the creation of new applications through its Sprint Gets Rugged application developers program. The program will provide information, support and tools needed to port developers’ applications to Sprint Direct Connect devices. More information on the Sprint Gets Rugged application developers program can be found at http://developer.sprint.com/SprintGetsRugged. Sprint will hold a conference on March 22 at the International CTIA WIRELESS® meeting in Orlando for developers who are interested.
“Our customers are asking for broadband push-to-talk now,” said Paget Alves, president-Sprint Business. “We’ve seen steadily increasing demand for faster data speeds, better and broader coverage, and more applications on push-to-talk devices. Sprint Direct Connect is designed to solve for all three, and is expected to come with sub-second push-to-talk call set-up time initially in Sprint CDMA RevA coverage areas. Sub-second call set up is expected to expand across the U.S. with the implementation of Network Vision.”
Alves added, “We believe the new push-to-talk service powered by a broadband network and featuring competitively priced rugged handsets and smart phones will represent an unmatched offering in the market.”