Is Push-To-Talk Today's CB Radio?

That, at least, appears to be the prediction of Arik Hesseldahl at Forbes, who has written a piece officially about the new focus on push-to-talk by wireless carriers, but which spends a lot more time talking about what a silly fad CB radio was, and wondering if push-to-talk is really any different. Of course, there are plenty of differences between the two (not the least of which is that it’s not limited to cars…), but I do think a lot of attention has been paid to push-to-talk as a “savior” for carriers, and that many may discover it’s not the pot of gold they were expecting. Nextel sold their service and push-to-talk to specific niche categories of buyers, but not everyone has the same need for push-to-talk, and not everyone is willing to pay extra for it. Sure, Nextel got high ARPUs via push-to-talk, but they certainly didn’t have anywhere near as many users. They segmented the market, and went for the high margin users. When everyone is offering push-to-talk, the segmentation goes away – as does the margin.

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