Sprint Completes Push To Talk Trifecta
By Eric Lin, Mon Nov 17 21:15:00 GMT 2003

Isn't there a saying about news usually occurring in threes? Verizon announced push to talk about a month ago, last week Nokia said PTT would be in all their GSM handsets by 2005, and today Sprint has launched its Ready Link service.

Although they are each using the same underlying network technology Sprint appears to have one-upped Verizon on a number of technological fronts. While Verizon offers one handset based on Motorola's venerable v.60 platform, Sprint is offering updated PTT phones from Audiovox with color screens, cameras, and other advanced features. In addition, early network test from RBC Capital Markets shows that Setup time, as well as message lag time is 1-2 seconds quicker with Sprint.

Sprint is winning with technology, but Verizon is trying to compete with price. For their customers, PTT is free with any calling plan over $60. On Sprint it is free with plans over $100, otherwise it is $5-15 per month (depending on the user's other service subscriptions).

Maybe it's because North America already has strongest Push To Talk infiltration thanks to Nextel and Telus Mike. Maybe it's because we are more likely to use a phone for talking than other regions. Maybe there are other reasons, but whatever they are, the push to talk rage seems to be centered on the Americas. Asian networks or users don't appear to be too excited by the prospect. Europe appears intrigued, even interested, but not sold on PTT as the next killer app.

We here have some reservations about PTT because its users often act so rude in public. Maybe new social norms will arise if the US launches are successful, or maybe there could even be a social backlash against people loudtalking at (not into) their mobiles. Should PTT be overwhelmingly successful, despite our doubts, will the traditional circuit switched telephone call become a thing of the past in America? If so, could that herald a trend for the rest of the world?