As of May 2011, Sprint Direct Connect doesn't formally exist yet -- but it will be available later in 2011. It's a new spin on an old service from the company that seeks to update and expand its functionality. It also sets Sprint apart from other cellphone service providers in the U.S., as it's a unique service.
Sprint Direct Connect
Sprint Direct Connect is an enhanced version of the Nextel Direct Connect service Sprint inherited when it merged with Nextel in 2004. It allows capable phones to engage in push-to-talk (PTT) services -- functioning essentially like walkie-talkies. Aimed at businesses with groups of people that need to constantly be in contact with each other, such as construction and logistics companies, these phones will function on the same Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) network other Sprint phones do. Nextel Direct Connect phones operate over the Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN), which has a smaller coverage area and slower data speeds than Sprint's CDMA network. Sprint Direct Connect phones will use the 3G EVDO Rev. A mobile broadband standard, like other Sprint phones.
According to Sprint's March 16, 2011 press release, Sprint Direct Connect service and its associated phones will officially launch sometime during the fourth quarter of 2011. Phones announced for the opening lineup of this service include an Android phone with a QWERTY keyboard produced by Motorola, as well as two from Kyocera. Both Kyoceras will be clamshell phones that meet military specifications; one will be waterproof, and one will be a camera phone.
In the future, Sprint plans to offer the capability for up to 200 Sprint Direct Connect phones to be able to communicate with each other at once. It also plans to offer international Direct Connect services in 2012. If you are currently a Nextel Direct Connect subscriber on the iDEN network, the company will continue to provide iDEN services through 2013, but will begin to phase out its iDEN cell towers starting at that time.
Sprint's transition of its Direct Connect service to its CDMA network will offer a wider coverage area to subscribers, since it currently has more CDMA coverage than iDEN coverage. However, if your business currently subscribes to the iDEN Direct Connect service, you'll need to purchase new devices to use the CDMA service, which may be costly. As of May 2011, Sprint has not yet announced incentives to transition existing Direct Connect customers over to its new service.
- Engadget: Sprint Direct Connect Will Replace iDEN with CDMA, Launch Late This Year; Chris Ziegler; March 2011
- Sprint Newsroom: Sprint Direct Connect FAQ; March 2011
- Contingency Planning Association of the Carolinas: Telecom Acronyms
- CNNMoney.com: Sprint, Nextel in $36B Merger; December 2004
- 3G Store: What is EVDO/Mobile Broadband?
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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