Sprint has announced a possible end date for their two-way, walkie-talkie style Direct Connect service. You probably remember it as being the unique feature of the former Nextel phone service.
Sprint has been warning for some time that Direct Connect was on the way out.
First of all, the push-to-talk feature was only available on phones that ran on Motorola's iDEN system which, in simple terms, was (and still is) 2G technology. So, while being able to provide users with private, two-way conversations those phones were turtle slow when it came to handling data.
Sprint now has a software-only Direct-Connect-like solution which works on more modern 3G devices.
But, Direct Connect's (and legacy Nextel device) fate was sealed when Sprint realized those same 800 MHz nationwide frequencies could be used to roll-out their upcoming LTE network.
That was a no-brainer.
Sprint plans to shift users (mostly businesses) to their new, software Direct Connect beginning now.
And, they're not giving an exact date for shutting down the old, hardware Direct Connect service – but they do warn that it could come as soon as June 30, 2013.
They really need those frequencies.