PTT over Cellular: A brave new world

Push-to-talk over Cellular (PoC) solutions have been in the market for years but are starting to come into their own thanks to 4G networks and new hardware designed for PTT users, especially for those on the move. Sam Fenwick looks at the current state of play

Push-to-talk over Cellular (PoC) has been around for a while and Tim Allerton, the founder of Push To Talk International (PTTI), should know – he’s been in the business since 2007 and the company started its live service on a 2G service one year later. The open standard on which all true PoC services (as opposed to VoIP) depend, OMA PoC was designed to work “over very slim data networks”. However, it’s only now that it’s truly starting to take off, thanks to the huge and ongoing investment in the nation’s mobile networks.

“At 2G, it was okay, at 2.5G it got better, at 3G it became what we think is very commercially available and that’s where we had a significant up-turn in our world where we started to do work with the bus companies and 4G has lit the company up,” Allerton says. The other factor that has boosted interest in PoC is the fact there’s now a large selection of “walkie-talkie two-way radio Android devices, which are built as professional two-way radios. These have a PMR-esque speaker, a solid-good mechanical PTT button, very large batteries (up to 5,000mAhr) and the ability to be plugged into desktop chargers – they no longer use micro/mini USB chargers”.

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