Sprint said that more than one million customers had signed-up for its Direct Connect push-to-talk service, as it looks to migrate customers away from its legacy iDEN network. The announcement came at the same time that rival AT&T began taking registrations for an enhanced push-to-talk service, which is set for commercial launch in November.

Sprint is in the progress of closing the iDEN network it gained through its acquisition of Nextel, one of the key features of which was its support for PTT services. The company is set to end services using this network by mid-2013, freeing-up frequencies which can be used for the rollout of LTE technology.

The operator is “recapturing” 60 percent of Nextel customers leaving contracts with its Sprint contract tariffs. It said an “upgraded push-to-talk platform, created by Qualcomm”, has played a “significant role” in drawing customers from iDEN to its broadband CDMA services.

Meanwhile, AT&T is promising its new PTT offering will “combine the benefits of traditional PTT communications – quick calling and group talking – with advanced capabilities such as mobile applications, smartphone compatibility and fast connections over 3G and 4G/LTE networks”.

The company is offering a “charter programme” for organisations that want to evaluate the technology before registering – a target group that will presumably include former Nextel users.

Chris Hill, VP of Advanced Mobility Solutions for AT&T Business Solutions, said: “Our early access program makes it possible for new subscribers to solidify their PTT migration plans now.”