Sprint today announced that it has expanded the coverage area of its push-to-talk Direct Connect service, bringing that network up to three times the square mile coverage of Sprint's iDEN PTT network. This new coverage is thanks to roaming agreements and the addition of 1xRTT service, which is a CDMA technology. Sprint notes that while customers on the 1xRTT or roaming coverage will have the same instant connectivity of a regular Direct Connect call, but that the initial call setup time will be a little longer than normal. Existing Direct Connect customers will gain the ability to access the roaming and 1xRTT coverage through a future software update: owners of Kyocera devices (like the Duramax) will receive the update during the week of June 18, and Sprint plans to announce details on an update for the Motorola Admiral soon. The Kyocera DuraXT, which launched on June 10, will come with the update preinstalled.
Sprint also revealed that it's already begun ceasing sales of iDEN devices in most channels and that it plans to shut down its iDEN network entirely as early as June 30, 2013. Today's announcement of expanded Direct Connect coverage brings Sprint another step closer to being able to decommission its iDEN network and should help give current iDEN users more incentive to make the jump to Direct Connect. The expanded coverage is also welcome news for current Direct Connect customers, and it's good to see that Sprint is prepping updates to enable those users to access the roaming and 1xRTT service. Sprint's full press release is available below.
Sprint Direct Connect Offers Three Times More Push-to-Talk Coverage than Nextel with Roaming, 1xRTT Capabilities
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), June 18, 2012 - Sprint (NYSE: S) today announced it has added more coverage area to its Sprint Direct Connect push-to-talk service – creating three times the push-to-talk coverage of its Nextel National Network – with the addition of roaming and Sprint 1xRTT coverage areas.1 Sprint Direct Connect – the new gold standard in push-to-talk – supports broadband capabilities, the latest business productivity applications, social media and multimedia, and future push-to-X capabilities on Sprint’s broadband CDMA network.
The launch of 1xRTT and roaming is the latest in a series of enhancements to Sprint Direct Connect designed to encourage customer migration from the Nextel National Network platform and to appeal to new customers.
“The coverage expansion through roaming and 1xRTT takes Sprint Direct Connect to a new level,” said Uday Patel, director-Sprint Direct Connect Marketing. “To all customers – from first responders who consult with peers across time zones to big businesses that use push-to-talk to communicate with employees on different coasts – the expansion will have instant value.”
He added that the broadened U.S. coverage complements Sprint Direct Connect’s recently deployed international connectivity. “Across the country or across international borders, Sprint Direct Connect provides the new gold standard for push-to-talk reach,” Patel said.
Customers will experience the same instant connectivity when a push-to-talk call has been established, however the initial call setup time will increase slightly if a user is in a 1xRTT area or when roaming.*
The expansion of the Sprint Direct Connect network also marks another milestone for Network Vision, Sprint’s nationwide network upgrade using the newest, most advanced equipment in the industry. Sprint plans to consolidate multiple network technologies into one seamless network with the goal of increasing efficiency and enhancing network coverage, call quality and data speeds for customers.
Earlier this month, Sprint announced it will decommission its iDEN network as early as June 30, 2013 as part of Network Vision plans. Network Vision is expected to add net economic value for Sprint from reduced roaming costs, cell site reduction, backhaul efficiencies, more efficient use of capital, and energy costs savings.
The company has already discontinued selling iDEN devices in most channels and will slow distribution further in the months ahead. Sprint will continue to support business customers with iDEN devices as needed during their transition to the Sprint Direct Connect service.
For more information:
Sprint Direct Connect, www.sprint.com/sprintdirectconnect
Sprint Direct Connect coverage, www.sprint.com/coverage
Network Vision, www.sprint.com/network
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 56 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers and most improved in customer satisfaction across all industries during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
* This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the securities laws. The statements in this news release regarding network performance, coverage and capabilities, business and network efficiencies, migration of services new technologies, timing of deployment, and products and services, as well as other statements that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements. The words “estimate,” “project,” “forecast,” intend,” “expect,” “should,” “believe,” “target,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are estimates and projections reflecting management’s judgment based on currently available information and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements. With respect to these forward-looking statements, management has made assumptions regarding, among other things, development and deployment of new technologies; efficiencies and cost savings of multimode technologies; customer and network usage; customer growth and retention; service, coverage and quality; availability of devices; the timing of various events and the economic environment. Sprint Nextel believes these forward-looking statements are reasonable; however, you should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which are based on current expectations and speak only as of the date of this release. Sprint Nextel is not obligated to publicly release any revisions to forward-looking statements to reflect events after the date of this release. Sprint Nextel provides a detailed discussion of risk factors in periodic SEC filings, including in its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2011.
1 Three times the coverage based on square-mile coverage comparison of Nextel National Network to Sprint National Network (inclusive of roaming).
*Customers with existing Sprint Direct Connect devices will need to accept a software update to enable the new coverage capabilities. For existing customers using the Kyocera Sprint Direct Connect devices, the software will be pushed to the device through a text message notification during the week of June 18 or customers may install the software by navigating to Main Menu/Tools/Update Phone/Update Firmware. For existing Motorola Admiral customers, a date will be announced soon when the software will begin to be pushed to the devices. Customers that purchased the Kyocera DuraXT that launched on June 10 will have the updated software already installed on their device in order to receive the expanded coverage.