Sprint drops Qualcomm's QChat

Sprint Nextel said it will no longer offer new devices running Qualcomm's QChat technology, and will instead refocus on push-to-talk phones operating on its iDEN network.

Sprint spokesman Scott Sloat told FierceWireless the move stems from the carrier's announcement last year that it would keep and reinvigorate its iDEN network. The carrier has since launched new iDEN devices and services and improved the network's quality.

"As a result of this progress, Sprint is committed to continuing to offer innovative push-to-talk products and services on the gold standard iDEN network," he said. "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 roadmap."

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.

Qualcomm said in a statement that it continues to support Sprint's QChat customers and is also working 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:
- see this PhoneNews.com post

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Article updated Nov. 30 to add comment from Qualcomm.