Telus expands push-to-talk

Telus Mobility this week unveiled a push-to-talk service on its national PCS wireless network, which could help the carrier bring push-to-talk to a wider business audience, according to one industry observer.

Push-to-talk services allow subscribers to reach contacts by pushing a button rather than dialing a telephone number, making communication faster. Telus already offers a push-to-talk offering over its Mike network, but Mike doesn’t have as wide a reach in Canada as Telus’ PCS network.

The launch of the new push-to-talk service, dubbed Instant Talk, will not spell the end for Mike. This week Telus announced plans to extend Mike’s Direct Connect push-to-talk service into Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Peru in Q1, 2005. Telus already offers Mike coverage throughout continental U.S. and Hawaii.

“The first choice for business should always be Mike,” says Telus spokesperson Mark Langton. Push-to-talk connections with Mike take around one second to establish, while the service will take between three and six seconds over the PCS network. Also, Langton notes, Mike has rate plans designed for businesses and a wider array of available handsets, including ruggedized models for industries such as construction.

Bell Mobility last year revealed its plans to launch a push-to-talk service on its next-generation wireless network, but the offering is not yet available.

Instant Talk will increase the potential market for push-to-talk service, says Iain Grant, managing director of telecom consultancy Seaboard Group in Montreal.

The principal audience will continue to be businesses, Grant believes. “Mike has been a business service,” he notes. “It’s used by stock brokers, investment bankers, truck drivers and pretty much anyone who operates in a group.”

Instant Talk will cost $10 per month for Telus customers with monthly plans above $40. The charge is $20 per month for those with plans worth $40 per month or less.

The service will be available on two handsets – the Kyocera KX440 and the Motorola V65p. The Kyocera phone is priced at $79.99 for customers with a three-year contract, and $229.99 for customers with no contract.

Pricing for the Motorola handset is not yet available.

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