Sprint Will Launch New Direct Connect Push-To-Talk Services October 2nd

Sprint has announced that they will launch their new push-to-talk service Direct Connect on October 2nd. Direct Connect will use Sprint’s 3G network, as opposed to the old iDEN network that made the (Sprint-owned) Nextel push-to-talk devices so popular. The rollout will be tempered, though is expected provide as much as triple the coverage of iDEN by 2012.

In addition to the instant, one-to-one push-to-talk calling you would expect, other features will include:

  • Call Alert with Text – Send an audio alert with an optional text message to let another Direct Connect subscriber know you are trying to reach them and why.
  • Group Connect – Communicate with up to 20 other Sprint Direct Connect subscribers all at once – nationwide, at the push of one button.
  • NextMail– Send a recorded message to any email worldwide or mobile handset via text message by using the Direct Connect button.

Sprint mentions both the Kyocera DuraMax and DuraCore as compatible upcoming Direct Connect devices, noticeably omitting the officially unannounced Motorola Admiral that showed up last week by mistake in a YouTube video from the company. Once they get their act together on that one, it is also likely to be announced that it will feature the Direct Connect features too.

Hit the break to read Sprint’s press release.

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), September 27, 2011 – Sprint (NYSE: S) today announced a Sunday, Oct. 2, launch date for Sprint Direct Connect®, ushering in the next generation of push–to-talk service from the company that pioneered push–to-talk. Sprint Direct Connect will come packed with broadband data capabilities, familiar push-to-talk features, rugged and reliable handsets, and a broadening push-to-talk coverage map expected in early 2012.

“Our customers are asking for broadband and push-to-talk,” 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.”

Sprint’s 3G data network and our enhanced push-to-talk platform will deliver instant calls, increased push-to-talk reliability, and support for cutting-edge data applications. Sprint’s broadband speeds will enable customers to experience the latest in technology applications, such as enterprise business productivity applications, social and multimedia support, and even advanced push-to-X capabilities in the future.

Sprint’s upgraded push-to-talk platform, designed with Qualcomm, plays a significant role in enabling Sprint Direct Connect enhancements and expanded coverage footprint capability. “Qualcomm is providing Sprint a carrier-grade, IP-based solution that delivers the advanced push-to-talk experiences customers are demanding today and sets a solid foundation for Sprint Direct Connect to support even more advanced communications in the future,” said Michael Wallace, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Internet Services.

Among the initial Sprint Direct Connect services:

  • Direct Connect® – Instant, one-to-one push-to-talk calling nationwide, with any other Direct Connect subscriber. Direct Connect is the core push-to-talk feature and is designed for interoperability across Sprint and Nextel network platforms.
  • Guaranteed Talk Permit – The assurance that when you hear the push-to-talk “chirp” that your call was successfully transmitted.
  • Call Alert with Text – Send an audio alert with an optional text message to let another Direct Connect subscriber know you are trying to reach them and why.
  • Group Connect® – Communicate with up to 20 other Sprint Direct Connect subscribers all at once – nationwide, at the push of one button.
  • TeamDCSM – Communicate with up to 200 other Sprint Direct Connect subscribers at the same time nationwide1.
  • NextMail® – Send a recorded message to any email worldwide or mobile handset via text message by using the Direct Connect button.
  • Availability Notification – Request the availability status of another push-to-talk member and, if they are busy, request a notification when they are free.

Sprint Direct Connect Coverage

Sprint Direct Connect service will continue to evolve. In early 2012, the Sprint Direct push-to-talk coverage area is expected to grow to match the Sprint CDMA voice coverage area – expected to be almost three times the square miles covered by Nextel iDEN today. Additionally, in 2012, international push-to-talk calling to select countries will also begin rolling out to help support our current customers with international push-to-talk needs.

Sprint Direct Connect Devices

In the fourth quarter, Sprint will begin to offer three new Sprint Direct Connect devices. The first new handset, Kyocera DuraMax, 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 via a reward card2. It will be available in all Sprint retail channels, including Web sales (www.sprint.com) and Telesales (1-800-Sprint1).

Kyocera DuraMax is the workhorse of the new Sprint Direct Connect portfolio. It has a rugged exterior and non-slip Dura-Grip® surface, a 2.0-inch QVGA TFT main display, 3.2 MP camera with flash and camcorder, and is designed to meet Military Standard 810G for dust, shock, vibration, extreme temperatures, blowing rain and water immersion (up to 30 minutes in one meter of water).

Kyocera DuraCore, a rugged phone built to meet Military Standard 810G specifications for dust, shock and vibration, to withstand tough environments is expected to launch by year-end and a Sprint Direct Connect Android device by Motorola is lined up and expected for fourth quarter.

Network Vision

Sprint Direct Connect marks an important step in the evolution of Network Vision, Sprint’s blueprint to deploy a single, cost-effective and innovative broadband wireless network. Sprint’s Network Vision upgrade will result in enhanced coverage; quality and speed; better network flexibility; reduced operating costs; and improved environmental sustainability. During the Network Vision implementation, Sprint plans to support the iDEN network into 2013 and to assist customers with their migration to the new feature-rich Sprint Direct Connect devices.


About the Author: Justin Routhier

Justin is a New England native, blogger, author and all-around Android fanatic. After leaving the world of RIM behind for the bright green Android nation there has been no looking back. As a devoted handset tech junkie and Android spokesman in his own mind, Justin takes great pride in converting friends, family and anyone within ear shot or viewing distance to the best platform around. Ever the multi-tasker, he also enjoys taking strangers money around the poker table, traveling, and spending long weekends with his fiancé, who somehow puts up with it all.