U.S. News Discovers Push-To-Talk

The marketing on push-to-talk phones must be heating up, as US News has short article about the new systems. They pretty much ignore most of the critical questions some of us have about the phones. There are, clearly, some people who believe that push-to-talk will be a big hit, but it remains to be seen how big that market really is. Nextel seems to have cornered much of the workplace market where the technology makes sense. The other carriers jumping in seem to believe there’s a big consumer market, and were enticed by the high ARPUs seen in Nextel’s customers. But, the high ARPUs were found in business customers who saw great value in the service. Consumers obviously didn’t see the same value or they would have snapped up Nextel phones themselves. So, if anything, the prices for push-to-talk would need to drop drastically, killing the whole ARPU argument. The article also brushes over the lack of interoperability between systems saying that it’s no big deal. If it’s no big deal then why is it that text messaging never really took off in the US until interoperability came about? The article also claims that one of the attractions of push-to-talk is that it can save on “valuable wireless minutes”, but in the next sentence doesn’t find it odd that the services add an extra $5 to $20 month – while most wireless plans include so many “valuable wireless minutes” that it’s impossible to use them all up.

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