Will Rev. A cause a resurgence in PTT?

Verizon has quietly relaunched its push-to-talk using its 1x-EVDO Rev. A network. The carrier offers two PTT over Rev. A phones--the Motorola Adventure V750 and the G'zOne Boulder. Both phones are designed for rugged environments. The G'zOne Boulder will be available in mid-August; the Adventure is available now.

But unlike the PTT battles of the past, Verizon isn't talking about call set-up times or PTT performance. Instead, the carrier is emphasizing the bigger contact list and the larger group sessions that the new enhanced PTT service will offer. In fact, during the company's recent second-quarter earnings call with investors, COO Denny Strigl candidly said that he sees push-to-talk as just another part of the company's broad product line. "This is one product. I think we have some upside. But again, it is just one product," Strigl said.  And when asked specifically if the company had fixed any latency issues, Strigl said, "I think we're in very good shape on latency. Unlike what you saw from us a few years ago, we're in a good place."

That's quite a departure from the PTT battles of the past when vendors and carriers had razor-sharp focus on eliminating the seconds it took to set-up a PTT call. Of course, Sprint has been the most vocal about its PTT upgrade over EVDO Rev. A. The operator is using Qualcomm's proprietary QChat technology and Sprint hopes to eventually migrate its existing iDEN customers to the Rev. A QChat technology.

But with all the new unlimited voice plans and free mobile-to-mobile calling, it seems as if PTT is no longer as compelling as it once was. Consumers and enterprises seem to have lost their enthusiasm for the technology and so have the operators. --Sue

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