New life for obsolete Nextel phones
Sprint has killied the Nextel Motorola iDEN network in the United States. That’s too bad, but if you have a pair of Nextel phones you can turn them into very good two way radios that will function even without the cell phone network.
Many, if not all newer Motorola Nextel phones have the “off network mode” also known as MOTO Talk which turn the phones into walkie-talkies completely independent of the phone provider’s network. The radios don’t use encryption, although the privacy settings allow users to communicate with select private groups and to individual units.
A SIM card is mandatory, although network service is not. I suspect any SIM card will do the trick. Without one the phone just hangs up at a screen that ask to insert a SIM card.
I tested a pair of Motorola i576 phones in an urban low-rise environment with hills and natural and man made obstacles occluding the line of sight. One unit was stationary and another was in a moving vehicle. I was able to transmit and receive completely clear voice up to one mile (1.5km) distance.
It is reasonable to expect that in a line of sight applications the range would be far greater. The range may also depend on the model of the phone.
To enable the off network mode simply go to the phone menu, turn the Direct Talk on and make sure the channel selection and privacy codes are matched on all the units you intend to use.
The U.S. Nextel network was shut down in 2013.
47 thoughts on “Turn Old Nextel Phone Into a Walkie-talkie”
Thats the amazing thing about these phones they’re great digital radios. People been using motorola i355s a lot and they have better range than frs. I got my i576 for 3 dollars from someone who though it won’t work anymore haha. Ordered another one.
i have ic502 IC902 I880
BUT all asking me for sim card
what sim card i need ??? im from algeria
Did you get them to work can you give me any feedback
you need a nextel sim card, check ebay
Does the i930 window work ???
Thanks for the note Emily. I miss using these phones. I mean, I like all the conveniences of a smartphone, but i576 was such a great small phone with a powerful speaker. It wasn’t as sturdy as the design would suggest, but it did ok. I just looked on Ebay. They sell for $20-30 which is surprisingly high.
Do you happen to know if the off-network 2-way mode uses encryption?
yes they do, super secure
They are frequency hopping. Anyone listening in would have to have identical phones with the same channel settings.
Thanks Thomas, that’s good to know.
How can I get my i530 phones to work the same way?
I’m not sure if they can work off-network or not. I’m not familiar with Nextel i530.
Does any body have any links to these phs now for sale would need a matching pair?
I have a pair I’m not using, but I don’t know… I feel I should shed some junk, on the other hand I kind of feel I should hang onto them.
hey i read your comment the u might have some sextet phones would u maybe be willing to sell them? i am a guardian angel chapter leader in nye n really could use them.
You have a set of Nextel’s?
I have four
what type do you have?
I have five actually that work as walking talkies if anyone is interesres
I have a pair right now in front of me SIM cards batteries phones everything right now
im from algeria and i have tow ic602 but missing nextel card
is there is way can Access to menu without sim card or withe any other gsmsin
if there is hard wer ??
I still have an i415. Would it work? One of the best on the side of a noisy freeway could be heard over the noise better than the company-issued flip-phone.
I need help
I work in hotel resort and the radio system is dead
We have a radio system
We got talking about nextel and what if
And i found this post
So the question is can this be done
If what u say is true
How do we do this
Call it 10 nextels we need with good battterys
Is it just 2 nextels or can i use multiply
Where do i buy a fair condition used nextel with a good battery
Thanks for your time if u reply
Vincent, I have 8 Motorola Nextel i265 phones brand new in box, they have the walkie talkie feature mentioned, all will include chargers, feel free to email me
Do you still have the Nextel how much do you want for it
Will it work on I 830 or 835 or 930 or 860
I don’t know. It’s been a very long time since I played with Nextel phones.
None of those phones will work with this. However, the i850, i870, i580, and many other models will work with this. Many of these phones can be found online for decently cheap.
Does anyone know how to re-enable this mode on a used Southernlinc phone which ship with the feature disabled?
Does anyone have a I560 for sale
I know this is a very old post and is probably closed at this point however, would anyone have or be interested in selling their models that can do the Direct Connect Feature WITHOUT having to use the GSM or iDEN Network? Please email me if you do or know of someone. Thanks
Thanks all again.
I would also like to buy two phones if they are in good working condition. Or if I buy two Nextel phones online could I get them to walki talkie each other ?
The i580 phone works with wifi except for the alert feature.
Is there a walkie talkie, or push to talk phone that works just like the old i580 phone with wifi capability, and intermittent page alert ?
I’m curious if you could integrate one of these phones to make a Repeater?
I don’t think so.
I know we all miss the Nextel phones. The closest thing to it that i have found was the prip app that is offered by the original Nextel co. Found here at http://www.prip.me The link to the apple app store is working but the android one is not. I had to get the android apk from the customer service dept at http://www.mediafire.com/file/psxf0alem2yvy7t/Prip_v188.8.131.52.apk/file
These are the latest version for android.
My Android phone came preloaded with Zello app. It’s a similar PTT application. The phone has an extra key on the side that can be used as a PTT key. Still, this is all a far cry from Nextel’s Direct Connect service.
Me and my co workers have all Nextel but we all have i870s and i880s and they all work on the direct talk mode brought back a lot of memory’s
Is anyone interested in 2 Nextel i50sx phones? Still in original boxes. Slightly used with all the original accessories and instructions book. Plus I have a new Nextel i530 new in box, also with all original accessories. Let me know.
Can they be used and what is the distance
I came across a Motorola i60C and got it for my daughter to play with. This thread has me thinking I could repurpose it and use it to chirp her when shes outside playing just like the old days. Is that possible on that phone. Also since the iDen network has been dead for many years now is it possible to create a small network in the 800mhz range for personal use? I know Im grabbing a straws but how cool would that be to communicate with your family using old cell phones and old tech that is obsolete in 2020.
I don’t think one could just recreate the iDen network.
How can I get my i60c Nextel to just use walkie talkie only ?? Found ten brand new in boxes cleaning out an old school . I
I have an I550 plus and a I500 plus I am willing to part with.
Looking for two in Toronto Canada. Please message me firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone have a i830 bronze?
I tried using my i830 nextel phone as a walkie talkie and it didn’t work…help.
I created a discord for anyone who wants to join and discuss MotoTalk/DirecTalk.