Sprint Nextel to upgrade CDMA push-to-talk function
Sprint Nextel announced an agreement to use Qualcomm’s QChat solution to deliver a CDMA push-to-talk solution in 2008 that will offer similar performance to — and ultimately interoperate with — its legacy iDEN-based DirectConnect.
Sprint Nextel currently offers a P2T service called Ready Link, but it has latency not found with Nextel’s DirectConnect. By using QChat technology integrated by Lucent Technologies over Sprint’s upgraded CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev. A network, it expects to close the gap.
“Nextel’s walkie-talkie is pretty much viewed as the industry leader, because it has the shortest call-setup time and latency time,” a Sprint Nextel spokesman said. “The expectation is, with QChat, the high-performance push-to-talk we’ll offer will be on par with that.”
In addition, the QChat P2T service will interoperate with the DirectConnect service, so Sprint Nextel customers will be able to use their P2T function to communicate with fellow users on both networks — interoperability not available with Ready Link, the spokesman said.
“It’s really a great thing for our customers,” he said. “So, if I’m a Sprint Nextel customer in 2008, I don’t have to worry about the network; I just have to know what capabilities I want.”
Sprint Nextel has not announced whether the QChat service will have the device-to-device P2T capability available with Nextel’s Direct Talk, the off-network service used most by public-safety officials, he said.
The QChat announcement represents “another milestone” in the integration of operations since the merger of Sprint and Nextel, two wireless carriers with networks that use different technology, the spokesman said. A hybrid phone that can operate on either network should be available later this year, he said. Sprint Nextel has announced that it is committed to maintaining the iDEN network through 2012.