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Sprint's Direct Connect push-to-talk network adds 1xRTT and roaming, tripling total coverage

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Sprint has added support for 1xRTT and roaming on its push-to-talk Direct Connect network and says it has tripled the total size of its push-to-talk coverage area.

Sprint store (STOCK)
Sprint store (STOCK)

Direct Connect, Sprint's latest network for push-to-talk phones, now has triple the coverage of its iDEN-based predecessor, Sprint says. The network now supports both roaming and 1xRTT, one of the major operating modes of CDMA. Before now, Direct Connect ran only on Sprint's EV-DO network, another CDMA standard. According to the latest maps, the addition of roaming and 1xRTT means coverage is available in many more rural areas across the central US, although Sprint notes that call setup may be slower on these parts of the network.

Push-to-talk or walkie-talkie style phones are used by businesses, civil infrastructure, or other groups, many of which are still on the older iDEN network. As it prepares to shut down iDEN next year, Sprint has been adding phones and features to Direct Connect, and it now says it's planning to speed up the decommissioning of iDEN towers in the coming months.