Sprint drops PTT over EV-DO Rev. A

Sprint Nextel said it will no longer offer new CDMA EV-DO Rev. A devices that feature push-to-talk capability, known as QChat, but will instead refocus its efforts on PTT phones using the company's iDEN network.

Sprint's original plan was to transition its iDEN users onto its CDMA network and eventually phase out the iDEN network. But last year the company announced it would keep the network. Since then it has been working to improve the network's quality and has launched new iDEN devices.

"Sprint will continue to support its existing QChat customer base to ensure their needs are met.  However, at this time there are no new QChat handsets on the product development road map," Sprint spokesman Scott Sloat told FierceWireless.

Sprint first launched QChat devices in 2008, a move that allowed it to offer push-to-talk services over its EV-DO Rev. A network. The QChat phones included a range of new features, including a repeating alert and group chat function that connected up to 20 users at once. But the big bonus was the notion of incorporating PTT with other services such as social networking, video text messaging and more, what is known as push-to-x since the technology is capable of transmitting both voice and data simultaneously.

Sprint reportedly has a U.S. exclusive on the QChat technology, which Qualcomm developed. It's unclear how Qualcomm might proceed with it in the U.S. Qualcomm has indicated it will continue to support Sprint's QChat customers and also work to expand its QChat business domestically and internationally to work with "multiple 3G operators moving forward." 

"Qualcomm continues to innovate and invest in QChat, an air interface agnostic platform currently optimized for both WCDMA and EV-DO Rev. A," Vishal Gupta, Qualcomm's vice president of North American sales, said in a statement. "We expect to launch QChat internationally in the coming year but cannot yet disclose which operators."

For more:
- read this FierceWireless article
- see this PhoneNews.com post

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