NEXTEL direct connect, useful? worth it?

Comment for Annie-Xmas: Nextel functions using cellular towers just like the other cell companies. Each company has their own collection of towers around the country.

In a disaster some towers will be destroyed. Nextel’s are no more or less likely to survive than any other brands’ towers.

Also, in a disaster the cellular call volume skyrockets. Everybody and their sister will be on their phone for both good and stupid reasons. A priori there’s no reason to beliive Nextel’s system will be any more or less overwhelmed than any other brands’ system.

Bottom line: Some backup to wired telelphone is nice. Nextel is no better/worse than any other cellullar service for that purpose. At the same time, wired service is a good backup for cellular which is not very reliable in a disaster either.
My personal take on Nextel:

I HATE the Nextel ads because they’re misleading. They’re selling a difference between products that doesn’t exist. If the company has to grossly lie in their advertising there’s gotta be something fishy about the product.

The ad scenario is always something like this: Protagonist with urgent question calls cellphone and gets voicemail; hijinks ensue. Take 2: Protagonist with urgent question calls Nextel phone and gets straight through; hijinks avoided. Cue happy music.


Here’s the truth: If either the cellphone or Nextel phone is turned on and in-range the call goes through immediately and hijinks are avoided. If either the cellphone or Nextel phone is turned off or out-of-range the call goes to voicemail and hijinks ensue.

So there is no actual performance difference for the scenario they’ve created. When I see those ads I always think the real message is: “Buy Nextel! It works better than a switched-off cellphone!” Wow, I’m impressed.

DC is a unique and technically neat feature. So how come they couldn’t build an ad that actually showed how their feature really benefits the user? Because in most cases it doesn’t really. As we say in the law, it’s a distinction without a difference. Or in English: Different? Yes. Valuably different? Not really for most folks. So absent any steak they need to sell the heck out of the sizzle.

OTOH, I love the antennalope ad; very creative. Still, their selling the company’s attitude, not the company’s product.

One man’s opinion, your mileage may vary.
p.s. I have Sprint cellular as my only phone. Wife has one too and we share minutes. Sprint’s deal where you can call any other Sprint phone in the USA for free is real handy in areas where Sprint is popular. About 75% of the calls I make are to other Sprint phones. Free 24x7. Coverage is adequate, not perfect. I don’t see DC as adding any value for how I use the phone. For some folks’ particular uses, yes, but not for me.