After almost a year of hints, Sprint’s ‘Direct Connect Plus’ PTT service from Kodiak launches

The Kyocera DuraForce Pro is one of a handful of phones from Sprint that will offer a physical PTT button. (Image: Sprint)

Sprint said it is now selling its new Sprint Direct Connect Plus (SDC Plus), “our next-generation push-to-talk solution, designed to give business teams the power of real-time communication with the push of a button for nationwide, one-to-one group or broadcast communications.” The new offering runs on the Kodiak PTT (push-to-talk) platform and supports Wi-Fi communications, presence information and tablet usage.

The launch, announced late last week, comes roughly eight months after Sprint hinted at the forthcoming service on its website. In May of last year, Sprint boasted that its new Sprint Direct Connect Plus “is an enhanced push-to-talk solution that will keep you and your team connected better than ever.” The carrier said the service, which is labeled as “coming soon,” will allow users to make PTT calls over Wi-Fi and more.

The launch of Sprint’s new SDC Plus is a shift by the carrier away from the Direct Connect offering that Sprint launched in 2011 with vendor Qualcomm. And that service itself represented a 3G CDMA version of the popular iDEN-powered Nextel Direct Connect PTT service that Sprint acquired when it purchased Nextel in 2005.

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Sprint’s shift from Qualcomm to Kodiak is somewhat noteworthy as it brings Sprint back in touch with Motorola Solutions. Motorola Solutions closed its acquisition of Kodiak Networks, a privately held provider of PTT, in August of last year. And Motorola Solutions traces its own lineage back to Motorola, the original supplier of Nextel’s iDEN network that was the first to offer PTT services.

Sprint said its new SDC Plus is now available through a downloadable app on most Android and iOS smartphones and tablets for $5 per month. And a handful of the carrier’s Kyocera phones will support the service with built-in, dedicated PTT buttons

“Push-to-talk is one of the most effective ways for business customers to communicate quickly and effortlessly with their mobile employees,” Kim Green-Kerr, Sprint’s SVP for business sales, said in a release from the carrier. “SDC Plus is the workhorse solution for today’s workforces. It helps businesses cut down on phone calls, easily have group conversations, manage employees across geographies, and reduce email volume. The evolution of push-to-talk to SDC Plus is one of the many ways we enable businesses to be more efficient and ultimately more profitable.”

Sprint said it would continue to expand the services available through its new SDC Plus PTT offering this year.

To be clear, Sprint isn’t the only operator offering PTT services. AT&T and Verizon have both worked to offer similar services, mainly to their respective business customers.