Sprint Debuts Push-To-Talk Service - InformationWeek

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12:39 PM

Sprint Debuts Push-To-Talk Service

It's the third U.S. wireless operator to offer walkie-talkie service.

Sprint PCS on Monday debuted a push-to-talk mobile phone service, becoming the latest provider to launch a version of the popular walkie-talkie style feature.

PCS Ready-Link, available now, lets users push a single button and instantly connect to one person or an entire group of people. The service is priced at $15 per month for unlimited calling or an additional $5 a month for existing subscribers to the company's PCS Vision data services. Ready-Link works on two new phones from partner Sanyo, each of which is priced at $300.

Sprint's launch follows in the footsteps of Nextel Communications, which launched an early version of its Direct Connect service in select cities more than 10 years ago. It quickly became Nextel's most-popular feature and a big customer draw. A nationwide version of the service launched in June. Verizon Wireless launched its competing version in August.

Sprint and Verizon will do a lot to expand the universe of push-to-talk users not only among business users, but also among teens and families, independent telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan says. But it will also help expand the earnings of wireless providers, he says. They stand to sign up lots of new customers who are friends, family members, or co-workers of people on the service.

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