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Sprint Nextel to enhance Nextel Direct Connect push-to-talk service
Posted: 30-Jan-2008 [Source: Sprint]

[Sprint to combine Direct Connect with Sprint Mobile Broadband data capabilities as part of its ongoing expansion of new services and handsets utilizing the Nextel National Network (iDEN).]

Overland Park, Kan. -- Millions of Sprint customers find significant advantages to using Nextel Direct Connect(R), the world's largest and fastest push-to-talk service and the only such service with international capabilities. With more than 90 billion push-to-talk connections completed in 2007, it is an ideal solution for businesses and first responders who need to communicate instantly as well as families and friends who want to stay connected.

"Nextel Direct Connect provides a differentiated experience for our customers," said Dan Hesse, president and CEO, Sprint Nextel. "The Nextel National Network (iDEN) is key to delivering Nextel Direct Connect. Sprint has invested significantly during the past two years and the network is performing at best-ever levels. Customers can expect to see continued investment and the introduction of new handsets to utilize the network's unique capabilities."

Sprint will also focus on enhancing Nextel Direct Connect in 2008, including aggressively marketing Nextel Direct Connect and expanding features and functionality including combining Direct Connect with Sprint Mobile Broadband data capabilities. These efforts are expected to ultimately deliver robust capabilities such as 'push-to-x' which can include push to instantly send a text message or send an image, push-to-information and other enhanced features in the future.

Sprint's wide variety of Direct Connect services include one-to-one capabilities that help customers communicate to make personal or business decisions quickly, boost productivity and save time and money. Also, the unique one-to-many capability of Group Connect(R) helps businesses quickly communicate the same message to multiple employees, as well as partners and vendors. More advanced services on Nextel phones allow customers to send a voice message to any email address using Nextmail(R), and share contact information and send pictures with the Direct Send(SM) feature.

Sprint Customers Share the Benefits of Nextel Direct Connect

Nextel Direct Connect can be used to enhance fleet management for a variety of industries. "We have recognized many benefits with Direct Connect, from enhanced communication to cost reductions. In some areas we have removed the traditional radio communication and replaced them with phones featuring the Direct Connect service," said Bryan Mlika, Sr. Manager of Technical and Quality Operations, AAA Auto Club South. "It allows our drivers to contact the dispatcher instantly, and reduces costs associated with installing AAA radios in the trucks. It's a very fast and efficient method to dispatch calls at a much lower cost. In addition, traditional UHF/VHF voice did not allow us to have transitional voice communication and in cases of disaster a dispatch position that used VHF/UHF voice would have lost contact with all drivers using that frequency."

Jeffrey Godwin, vice president of towPartners, added, "Nextel Direct Connect has been a primary communications tool for the towing industry since the time it was introduced. Instant, two-way communication affords towing companies the ability to quickly dispatch their assets wherever and whenever needed. Add in the ruggedized handsets that Sprint offers and you have a service that can't be beat. No other service is as fast, as reliable or as cost efficient as Direct Connect."

In addition, Centex, one of the nation's largest home builders and winner of the 2007 J.D. Power and Associates Platinum Award for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction, notes the significant benefits experienced with Direct Connect by the construction industry. "Managing the construction of hundreds of homes that are in different stages of construction can be a daunting task," said Scott Richter, executive vice president of Operations for Centex. "Especially when you are coordinating with multiple trade partners for each job. Sprint helps meet our communications requirements through the use of Direct Connect. Nextel Direct Connect allows us to instantly communicate with our managers and trade partners, making us more efficient. That's good for us, our trade partners, and our customers."

Nextel Direct Connect can be vital for communications between family members as well. For example, ask mother, wife and full-time multi-tasker Wendy Baber where her family would be without their push-to-talk service and you get a hurried one-word answer: "lost!" Keeping tabs on her daughters at school, work, and basketball practices, and her husband and his two businesses, is made easier with Nextel Direct Connect. "It's the first thing I put on my desk at work and it's there for me all day," she said.

The instant connectivity of Nextel Direct Connect on Nextel phones also makes it a valued tool for public safety personnel. It has the only "off-network" capability, Direct Talk(SM), which is critical for public safety users during emergency response situations. This short range radio-to-radio capability provides a critical communications option when the network is unavailable. (Environment, terrain, structures, in-building use & other factors may affect range/performance.) Sprint also offers exclusive public safety applications such as Priority Connect(R), Emergency Talkgroup(SM) and Priority on Group Connect.

"My department relies on Nextel Direct Connect for our daily communication operations and it is an absolute requirement during an emergency or natural disaster," said Charles Werner, Fire Chief, Charlottesville Fire Department. "For example, a few years back during a tornado warning, our public telephone networks were overloaded with calls. Nextel Direct Connect worked and helped us communicate when we needed it the most. Direct Connect and Priority Connect are vitally important as these features allow us to establish a parallel communications network and greatly enhance our mission critical radio system."

New Devices Deliver Nextel Direct Connect Benefits

With more than 15 years of push-to-talk expertise, Sprint has the largest portfolio of Nextel Direct Connect devices, including the largest selection of rugged phones certified to Military Standard 810F for dust, shock, vibration, etc.

Sprint continues to give customers more options to meet their instant communications needs. The most recently introduced Nextel Direct Connect handsets include:

* i335 by Motorola - Sporting a sleek, slim form factor unique to the Nextel portfolio, the i335 offers Bluetooth, speakerphone, GPS capabilities and the full catalog of Direct Connect services available today. The i335 maintains the familiar ruggedness Direct Connect customers have come to expect and is certified to Military Standard for 810 F for dust, shock and vibration.

* i570 by Motorola - The i570 puts the latest features into a rugged design ensuring reliable performance in the toughest environments. Customers have the convenience of Direct Connect services for instant one-on-one and group communication as well as one-touch shortcuts to phone features, icon driven menu, 5-way navigation and voice-activated dialing.

For the Nextel National Network, internal performance metrics show double-digit percent improvement year-over-year (i.e., Dec. 2006 to Dec. 2007) for drops (i.e., where a customer's voice connection fails or drops during a call) and blocks (i.e., where a customer is unable to make a voice connection). Customer issues related to dropped and blocked calls, and voice quality, have decreased more than 60 percent since December 2006. This level of improvement translates to more reliable service for our customers.


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