Issue #2003 - 27
"Push To Talk" feature Becoming Mainstream on 3G
(or 2.5G) Wireless Networks
A number of initiatives by wireless service providers is pointing to a widespread trend towards "push to talk" feature on wireless data devices and
networks. The following announcements are noteworthy:
1.Verizon is already offering its P2T capability on its wireless data
network based on 1xRTT CDMA technology.
2 Sprint PCS in USA has also
announced a similar service on its 1xRTT network. Service will be
available by the end of 2003.
3. Bell Mobility in Canada has indicated its intention to offer a similar
push to talk service on its 1xRTT network.
4. Telus Mobility (another Canadian
carrier), which had almost a monopoly in the Canadian market of
"Push to Talk" service (through its Mike offering, similar
to Nextel's service in USA and based on Motorola's iDEN technology) has indicated
to the investment community that it will offer a consumer version of P2T
service along with its Mike service that is targeted at the
professional and business market. The new service will be based on
its 2.5G CDMA 1xRTT network .
For more on this - NBC reporter's experience of Verizon
versus Nextel service, go
MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: P2T
(some use PPT for push to talk or walkie-talkie feature for the
uninitiated) is definitely in the cards for all the networks.
Motivation for this very simple and straightforward. Customers -
consumers, professionals and business users who work in groups or
teams, all want it. They are paying Nextel to get it. From carrier's
point of view, the ARPU (average revenue per user) is much higher -
$70 for Nextel customers compared to $45 for non P2T users of
Verizon and Sprint).
Where is the hitch in doing it faster
and ubiquitously? First Motorola and Nextel had a special
contractual deal in offering this "fast direct connect" to
Nextel customers only. That arrangement is now terminated, much to
Nextel's dismay and anger. Can you rely on your partner for ever?
The second stickler is some patents that just expired. Third is that
current generation of 2.5G digital networks have not been
retrofitted with this feature. It just takes time to retrofit those
hardware, firmware and software changes to network infrastructure to
get direct connect on. That's why it will take Sprint some time to
turn it on.
The most important consideration, our
simple systems engineering thinking tells us, is thatP2T experience
on true and tried Nextel (and Telus Mobility in Canada) and new
service offering on Verizon and shortly Sprint will be different.
Motorola's iDEN network was designed right from start as a combined
voice and data network and had "fast direct connect - in a
second or so, as a design feature. This is not true with Verizon and
Sprint's 1xRTT CDMA networks. Therefore, it takes a while (4-5
second) on these new networks to connect with your buddies who are
in your P2T group. However, you have some nice features like -
visual list names of users who are available for conversation. Of
course, on the positive side, Verizon and Sprint network coverage is
more widespread than that of Nextel. Bottom line - if Nextel has
coverage where you work most often, it offers superior experience.
If not, Verizon service is acceptable. Some service, even with
slightly delayed direct connect is better than no connect. There is
always give and take in business decisions.
Finally, we think that Telus
Mobility's strategy in Canada is very interesting and quite smart.
Unlike Nextel (who has a 21% stake in the Canadian company), Telus
has both an iDEN and 1xRTT network. Please note that Telus will
offer what it calls consumer P2T service through 1xRTT network and
business P2T service through iDEN. Our partially-confirmed
intelligence indicates that Telus is investing more in 1xRTT than in
iDEN network. That may tell you a bit about where the future is.
True 3G networks with fast direct connect may be the answer.
In this discussion, where is GSM/GPRS
carriers? You bet, they are working hard to catch up.
Note: This news release may contain
forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the
Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of
1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no
assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented.
MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information.
Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing
these products, services and technology architectures. All
trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective