In-stat Survey Data Supports Push To Talk Trend
By Eric Lin, Fri Feb 20 23:15:00 GMT 2004

In a recent In-Stat/MDR survey, 50% of users who don't use Push To Talk now were interested in the service. In-Stat calls this type of response tepid, but in light of other surveys, it's actually quite encouraging.

In-Stat/MDR surveyed mobile phone users in the US regarding Push To Talk (PTT). Despite recent launches from from Verizon, Sprint and Alltel in addition to long-standing users on Nextel, only 8% of the 239 respondents used PTT. Nextel has the fewest subscribers of the six major carriers, and very few handsets on Sprint or Verizon are compatible with their PTT services, so the number of current users is not that surprising.

More interesting are the responses from the other 92% of respondents. out of the non-PTT users, 50% would consider using it. In-Stat paints this as a lukewarm response, and suggests that other carriers market PTT to subscribers other than business users since it could be a challenge to compete with Nextel's dominance in the business world.

I am a Push To Talk sceptic, but I have a more positive interpretation of these survey results than In-Stat's analysts. Last week when we reported on a Strategy Analytics' survey, only 45% of those surveyed wanted the most desired feature- driving directions. Getting over 50% of users to express interest in any one feature then seems quite a feat. Operators should be encouraged by this kind of response, even though In-Stat calls it "tepid."

In-Stat's suggestion that other networks should target non-business users only feels half-right as well. According to their own data, half of those who were interested in PTT would use it for business. Even if there are markets for PTT other than business users, there certainly are business users who would prefer to use PTT on their own network rather than switching to Nextel. It seem sensible to recommend that operators concentrate on business users first, as they are most likely to subscribe to walkie-talkie services- with the additional caveat that as with all other services, they would be foolish to neglect personal users.