Verizon adds Kodiak-powered enhanced PTT service for select Android phones for $5/month

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) is launching a new push-to-talk service for certain Android smartphone users that includes new features for conference calls and group calls as well as the ability to launch PTT services over Wi-Fi.

ptt verizon droid maxx

Verizon's Droid Maxx will support its new PTT service.

Verizon said the new "Push to Talk Plus" service, which customers will have to access via a downloadable app, will cost $5 extra per month. The carrier said for a limited time customers who add the service to their account will receive a credit for the first six months of service.

The new Verizon service is powered by PTT vendor Kodiak Networks, which also supports AT&T Mobility's (NYSE: T) Enhanced Push-to-Talk service, which AT&T launched in 2012.

Verizon said its Push to Talk Plus service includes improved voice quality and faster call set up time on its LTE network, and also has new features designed for group calls, including:

--Talker Priority, which lets the person initiating a group call override a group call and be the only speaker everyone hears.
--Late Join, which lets a person who is joining a group PTT call late join the group call.
--Rejoin, which lets people drop and rejoin ongoing group calls.
--Users also have the option to use PTT over Wi-Fi. 

The new service is only available right now on a handful of smartphones, including the Motorola Droid Maxx, Samsung Electronics Galaxy S5, Casio G'zOne Commando and others. Verizon said it will be available soon on more devices, including the ruggedized Kyocera Brigadier. 

PTT services are not as big as they once were in the U.S., especially after the mid-2013 shutdown of Sprint's (NYSE: S) iDEN network. However, carriers continue to offer the service, especially for enterprise customers and for specific industries like construction and businesses with remote field workers.

Sprint still offers an enhanced CDMA-based PTT solution via Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) called CDMA Direct Connect. AT&T has its enhanced PTT offering, which is an IP-based service that runs over AT&T's HSPA and LTE networks and even works with Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone. Meanwhile, Voxer provides a network-agnostic push-to-talk app and has recently been focusing more on the enterprise market.

For more:
- see this Verizon post
- see this Engadget article
- see this PhoneScoop article

Related Articles:
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AT&T brings PTT app to iPhone ahead of Sprint's iDEN shutdown