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AT&T announced today that it’s bringing push-to-talk to the iPhone 5 and 4s via a new app similar to their currently available Android app. AT&T hopes to pick up business from the imminent shuttering of Sprint’s Nextel service, which plans to shut down their Nextel iDEN network and move everyone to their all new CDMA push to talk system.

Push-to-talk is still popular for workers in industries like construction and hospitality because it lets them easily communicate with entire teams at once. But Nextel’s walkie-talkie service didn’t offer 3G data speeds.

AT&T Enhanced PTT price plans include a $5.00-per-month add-on feature when added to existing voice and data plans or a $30.00-per-month push-to-talk-only rate plan (no voice or non-PTT data included).

The Enhanced PTT application can be downloaded from Google Play, and will be preinstalled on the Samsung Galaxy Rugby Pro, the Samsung Rugby III, the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and the BlackBerry Curve 9360.

Verizon’s PTT service says their Push to Talk service allows you to make group calls with up to 50 team members and stay in touch across America’s largest Push to Talk network coverage area.

Verizon’s Push to Talk phones use either a Verizon Wireless voice plan with a Push to Talk feature or the Push to Talk Only plan.

While AT&T says it’s bringing push-to-talk to the iPhone, technically, the functionality is already there. Apps like Voxer, which is available for iOS and Android, already offer live “push-to-talk” systems. They use the data channel to send voice and enable customized talk groups on a varity of phones.

AT&T’s Enhanced PTT is based on technology from Kodiak Networks. AT&T says it has sub-second call setup; larger contact lists and talk groups than rival PTT solutions; can combine PTT services and mobile applications; supervisory override; and talk group scanning.

Qualcomm’s QChat is Sprint’s PTT solution for improved coverage running on EV-DO Rev. A. Sprint has around 3 million customers on its iDEN network. The carrier hopes to move its iDEN customers to CDMA and LTE PTT service, then decommission the Nextel network at the end of June. Sprint’s new Direct Connect phones combine PTT features with 3G data and offer longer CDMA range since they’re using Nextel’s lower 800 MHz frequencies.

Related Dailywireless articles include; AT&T Rolls Out Push to Talk, FirstNet: The Asymetrical Threat, 4G Walkie-Talkie Nets for First Responders, Sprint Talks Up PPT App, Push to Talk Broadband: Public Service, 3G & 4G,

One Response to “AT&T & Verizon Promote PTT with iDen Shutdown”

Comparing Voxer to carrier-grade push to talk services isn’t fair. Voxer and other app-based PTT solutions have no network-level component, so they will always be at a disadvantage.

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