PhoneNews.com has been able to confirm online chatter amongst Sprint employees regarding the increasingly shrinking position of QChat-based Direct Connect phones such as the Sanyo PRO series and Motorola Renegade with some surprising revelations.
Read More for all of the details.
Update – Sprint Director of Corporate Communications Scott Sloat has issued the following statement to PhoneNews.com:
“As you may recall last year, Sprint announced it would reinvigorate its iDEN network which is the fastest national push-to-talk network with guaranteed call set-up times of less than one second.Â Since then weÂ have launched new innovative devices and services, improved the quality of the iDEN network to best-ever performance levels and updated its pricing plans to be simpler so customers get the best value.
As a result of this progress, SprintÂ is committed toÂ continuing to offer innovativeÂ push-to-talk products and services on theÂ gold standard iDEN network. 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.”
According to the chatter, the remaining stock of QChat phones is being sold through all sales channels and the models are no longer being restocked once sold out. The LG LX400 and Samsung Z400 have themselves been discontinued for some time as the models are no longer available for purchase online or via other sales channels.
Additional independent confirmation from visiting multiple locations suggests that Sprint is indeed phasing out the last remaining QChat-based models in the Sanyo PRO-200/PRO-700 and the Motorola Renegade V950 since November 1st according to new retail store product placement changes (planogram in retail-speak), which no longer prominently feature the above models on their customer-facing displays.
The move away from QChat is not surprising and was confirmed by PhoneNews.com in a roadmap leak last March which detailed a halt to new QChat device development as well as other initiatives.
A recently discovered email from Integrated Solutions Group president Danny Bowman in response to a customer inquiry about QChat last June further confirms QChat’s demise, stating that the carrier has no further plans to launch new QChat markets beyond launching the initial 54 markets in 2008, all but confirming the end of QChat development.
Conversely, Sprint’s increased investment in the the iDEN network beginning last year to resolve long-running capacity and access issues after failing to find a buyer has resulted in a renewed push for the iDEN network which began earlier this year, with the launch of Boost Unlimited on iDEN, reconfigured Nextel business plans and new phones.
Requests for comment from Sprint media relations on this story have been sent with an official response pending.