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AT&T relaunches walkie-talkie style service Push to Talk

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Push To Talk was the talk of the telecoms town a decade ago. It never took off in Europe, but in America it soldiers on and could pick up with the launch of AT&T's next-generation service.

Enhanced PTT, which runs on its AT&T's LTE network, will cost its subscribers an additional $5 a month, but the data used for the VoIP-based service falls outside any cap and PTT sessions are unlimited. Handset support includes high-end Android and BlackBerry devices and the software will come pre-installed on a handful of AT&T variant models.

Push to Talk, which broadcasts your voice like a walkie-talkie, never took hold in Europe despite gaining some popularity in the US. The idea is to let employers speak to their staff, in groups, to improve communications, but the medium didn't lend itself to the platitude-laden speech used on this side of the pond.

The average voice call is two minutes, says the man from AT&T, but the average PTT call is only 30 seconds, which would hardly be enough time to enquire after one's health and exchange the time of the day, let along convey any instructions of import. The lack of platitudes often makes one perceive Americans as rude, but rudeness is in intent, not language, and few Americans are as rude as they can sound.

Daily Wireless points out that Sprint has a million customers on its shiny-new CDMA PTT network, branded Direct Connect, and is using Qualcomm's QChat on its next-generation networks. So there's clearly a market for a service which enables callers to announce their message without warning the recipients that it's coming. ®

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