Skip to main content

Can Mobile Push-to-Talk Rise Again in U.S.

According to In-Stat, the high-point of the U.S. push-to-talk mobile phone market was the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the distinctive chirp of Nextel handsets could be heard on construction sites, and in repair vehicles from coast to coast.

Nextel was the envy of the mobile industry, with its extraordinarily loyal customers and $71 monthly average revenue per user (ARPU), which was almost 50 percent higher than its competitors. The conventional (and incorrect) wisdom of the time was that push-to-talk (PTT) was the key to Nextel's success.

As a result, Cingular, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint launched poorly-received push-to-talk (PTT) services of their own in 2003. Technological limitations of their new CDMA 3G networks caused unacceptable delays during PTT calls, and Cingular's circuit-switched PTT service from Kodiak Networks worked relatively well but failed to capture the public's imagination.

Nextel appeared to be invulnerable until 2005, when a number of marketing and technological gaffes started a period of decline. Millions of Nextel customers fled, but, with no acceptable PTT solutions from competitors to fill their needs, they were forced to use cellphones and text messaging instead.

Today, it appears that push-to-talk is back, or at least it is available again. There are push-to-talk offerings from Sprint-Nextel, AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless. The technology and user experience are much better but the potential market isn't as clear.

Recent testing by In-Stat of several PTT handsets demonstrates that the networks and devices are ready. Most notable are the handsets from Sprint-Nextel that interoperate Nextel's legacy iDEN network.

Those CDMA devices seem to provide the same performance and experience as iDEN while offering a more white-collar look and feel and the Sprint's larger CDMA coverage footprint. AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless also offer both consumer and rugged PTT models.

Now that the technological playing field is leveled, the mobile operators will be free to compete for Nextel's former customers. However, it is not 2003 anymore -- Nextel no longer commands the critical mass of contractors and tradesmen it once did.

In addition, text messaging was in its infancy with the U.S. five years ago. Today, text is used by two thirds of mobile subscribers and may be seen as a substitute for PTT's quick voice chirps.

Regardless, the question remains, is the U.S. market ready to give PTT a second chance?

Popular posts from this blog

Wireless Solutions Advance Work from Home Trends

Despite a challenging backdrop from the ongoing effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the negative impact on fifth-generation (5G) wireless supply chains has been minimal compared to the wider mobile smartphone market. This led to 5G mobile devices becoming more diverse, brought to market quickly at a variety of price points, thereby accelerating affordability and adoption. The mobile market is transitioning to 5G and many leading vendors are now exploring the low-priced 5G smartphone segment. According to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research, 681 million 5G handsets will be shipped in 2022. Therefore, the race is on for OEMs to find that all-important level of differentiation in their flagship portfolios to help boost margins and improve market share. 5G Wireless Market Development Vendors continue to drive the adoption of new product designs, screen technology, chipsets, and camera setups -- notably within the flagship smartphone segment. Meanwhile, the leaders seek a

Software-Defined Infrastructure: The Platform of Choice

As more organizations adapt to a hybrid working model for their distributed workforce, enterprise CIOs and CTOs are tasked with delivering new productivity-enabling applications, while also seeking ways to effectively reduce IT cost, complexity, and risk. Traditional IT hardware infrastructure is evolving to more software-based solutions. The worldwide software-defined infrastructure (SDI) combined software market reached $12.17 billion during 2020 -- that's an increase of 5 percent over 2019, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC). The market grew faster than other core IT technologies. The three technology pillars within the SDI market are: software-defined compute (53 percent of market value), software-defined storage controller (36 percent), and software-defined networking (11 percent). "Software-defined infrastructure solutions have long been popular for companies looking to eliminate cost, complexity, and risk within their data cente

Digital Identity Verification Market to Reach $16.7B

As more enterprise organizations embrace the ongoing transition to digital business transformation, CIOs and CTOs are adopting new technologies that enable the secure identification of individuals within their key stakeholder communities. A "digital identity" is a unique representation of a person. It enables individuals to prove their physical identity during transactions. Moreover, a digital identity is a set of validated digital attributes and credentials for online interactions -- similar to a person's identity within the physical world. Individuals can use a 'digital ID' to be verified through an authorized digital channel. Usually issued or regulated by a national ID scheme, a digital identity serves to identify a unique person online or offline. Digital Identity Systems Market Development Complementary to more traditional forms of identification, digital identity verification systems can enhance the authenticity, security, confidentiality, and efficiency of