Motorola Announces Cross-Platform PTT
By Carlo Longino, Wed May 26 16:00:00 GMT 2004

The company says its new PTT system can work across major wireless technologies, including GPRS, CDMA2000 1x and Wi-Fi.

PTT's uptake has been limited by interoperability concerns, and while it's been a key differentiator for some, like Nextel, many GSM carriers are loathe to introduce a PTT system that's not interoperable with other carriers'. Many manufacturers, like Motorola, Ericsson, Siemens and Nortel are embracing standard protocols, while Nokia's chosen a different route, fueling more interop concerns.

Motorola's system is an IP- and network-based solution that's in line with OMA standards and will work with other standards-based clients, including existing ones, and should make interoperability between carriers, even across national borders, fairly simple (though you'll forgive our pessimism, given the current state of affairs of MMS interconnection).

Interoperability and interconnection are mandatory for PTT to succeed in the general market. It's no coincidence that the most successful mobile services -- voice and SMS -- are the ones with the greatest and simplest interoperability, while a major pitfall of MMS is that a sender must know quite a bit about the person they want to send a picture to -- at the very least, their carrier and if their handset can handle MMS. It's too complex, and ends up frustrating users who pay for messages that are never delivered.

Nextel's lockdown on PTT in the US gave them a significant advantage in several market segments, as businesses would come in and buy handsets and service in bulk so their employees could use PTT. This is a successful strategy in the business market, but for PTT to take off in the consumer market, there must be the ability to connect users across different networks and even different handset vendors -- this demands standards-based, network-neutral products.