Sprint plans to expand its gold-standard push-to-talk leadership, unveiling fourth-quarter launch plans for next-generation push-to-talk capabilities powered by its broadband CDMA network. As part of the launch, Sprint will offer an initial set of handsets packed with features designed for workgroups that rely on push-to-talk and establish a new push-to-talk brand — Sprint Direct Connect.

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.

Sprint Direct Connect will launch with an initial portfolio of rugged devices from Motorola Mobility and Kyocera. The devices will feature most of the capabilities available on current Sprint push-to-talk phones, plus next-generation push-to-talk applications and functionality including high-speed data access, high-resolution cameras and Bluetooth®. 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 deepen its push-to-talk portfolio, adding more devices with new form factors and features.

The devices are expected to enable group push-to-talk for up to 200 participants, LMR interoperability, and availability notification. In early 2012, Sprint Direct Connect is expected to add more capabilities, including international push-to-talk.