March 16, 2011

Q: What is happening to Sprint’s push-to-talk service in Q4 2011?
A: Coming in Q4 – Sprint plans to launch our next generation of push-to-talk service on CDMA.
  • The new CDMA push-to-talk service will be branded Sprint Direct Connect
  • We plan to launch one Android smart phone and two ultra-rugged flip phones
  • These phones are designed to provide interoperable one-to-one direct connect calling on EVDO Rev A. There will also be a few new features at launch.
  • These new devices will benefit greatly from being able to use PTT on 1XRTT and while roaming. These additions are expected to increase the CDMA PTT coverage greatly and provide a PTT footprint that will allow customers to use push-to-talk in a majority of the same places that the iDEN network covers today.
  • Also, Network Vision upgrades are planned to begin at the end of 2011 (rolling staggered area upgrades over the next few years), which we expect will also provide additional coverage improvements to the CDMA footprint. 
Q: Sprint has announced that it expects to shut down its iDEN network, what is the nearterm future of Sprint’s iDEN network?
A: Sprint plans to continue operating the iDEN network while aiming to maintain best-ever performance levels. As the shift to more broadband-centric PTT applications on the CDMA network occurs and Sprint successfully launches Sprint Direct Connect, iDEN cell sites are expected to be phased out. The phase out is expected to begin in 2013.
Q: You’ve attempted PTT on CDMA before; what’s different this time?
A: Through Network Vision, we expect the new push?to?talk on CDMA experience to be
enhanced in four important ways:
• Increased Coverage – calling capability is expected to be expanded to approx. 98% of the Sprint service areas as compared to 65% today.
• Stabilized calling – With coverage enhancements, the PTT experience should
significantly improve where we have EVDO available.
• Expanded device line up – With Sprint’s commitment to iDEN through 2013 coupled with new PTT on CDMA devices, our comprehensive PTT device portfolio will be highly competitive and in some cases superior to the competition.
• New feature functionality: Sprint’s next generation PTT will have enhanced feature functionality as well as some new features such as Availability Notification and Simultaneous PTT and Data.

Q: What type of PTT devices will be featured on CDMA?
A: The first CDMA PTT devices are expected to launch in Q4 2011. Sprint plans to launch three devices – one from Motorola, and two from Kyocera that are capable of supporting Sprint Direct Connect. The Motorola handset will feature an Android operating system, three inch touch screen and QWERTY keyboard. One of the Kyocera handsets is water-immerse-able, with both being military spec rugged clamshells, one of which comes with a camera. The portfolio of Sprint Direct Connect devices will continue to expand in 2012 to include multiple form factors from additional manufacturers.
Q: Will PTT coverage improve with Sprint Direct Connect?
A: Yes, there a several milestones in our coverage evolution:
• The new Sprint Direct Connect devices are planned to launch in Q4.
• Sprint is planning to enable those Sprint Direct Connect devices to work on 1XRTT and roaming…this will result in the planned increased CDMA PTT reach to better match the iDEN footprint (especially good news for iDEN customers who didn’t benefit from the original QChat launch due to limited coverage)
• Network Vision improvements are planned to begin rolling out market by market in the fourth quarter. In newly upgraded markets our overall Sprint coverage will improve for all services voice, data and PTT – including better in-building penetration.
• Throughout 2012, Sprint expects to continue to add handsets to our new Sprint Direct Connect lineup with new form factors and features that will add depth to the portfolio with new CDMA features and address iDEN customer needs.
• Also, International PTT is planned to be introduced through a phased deployment for the new Sprint Direct Connect devices in 2012.

Q: What is Network Vision?
A: Network Vision (NV) is a multi?year initiative with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung to enhance Sprint’s network entire experience.
  • New innovations and technologies can provide better coverage, resulting in a potential reduction in the number of cell sites and reduced operating costs
  • Devices with new multimode chipsets can reduce dropped calls by allowing customers to access the best network signals and new technologies & services when available.
  • Improved coverage and next-generation backhaul solutions can reduce roaming and access costs and reliance on competitor’s networks
  • NV can strengthen our reputation as a leader in environmental responsibility through a reduction in network equipment, power needs, and smaller carbon footprint
  • Expect next-gen PTT to offer high?bandwidth solutions w/ sub-second call set-up
  • For more information, visit the Network Vision Information Center