Light Reading
Can push-to-talk reprise the surprise success of text messaging in Europe?

PTT: The New SMS?

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
7/25/2003
50%
50%

Motorola Inc.'s (NYSE: MOT) efforts to market Push To Talk (PTT) services outside of the U.S. has raised debate over the technology's potential to eclipse SMS as the future messaging tool of choice in Europe and beyond (see Motorola Tries PTT in Jordan).

PTT allows people to use their phones as a walkie-talkie, merely pushing a button to talk to another user or group of users. The technology is arguably the voice equivalent of SMS, the text messaging technology that enables users to send or receive notes of up to 160 characters in length on their phone.

PTT has already experienced significant success in the U.S., with Nextel Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NXTL) claiming to generate around 20 percent of its revenue from the technology. AT&T Wireless Services Inc. (NYSE: AWE), Sprint PCS (NYSE: PCS)), Verizon Wireless and others are also working on delivering similar voice-over-IP based services (see Verizon Mum on Push-to-Talk).

With the U.S. market established, network vendors and industry startups are now targeting European carriers with PTT offerings in an attempt to encourage a consumer messaging boom similar to the unexpected success of SMS (see Big Three Talk PTT and Radiolinja Trials Push-to-Talk).

According to Forrester Research Inc., 156 million SMS messages are sent in Europe every month, generating revenues of €19.6 billion ($23 billion).

"The mobile world has been racking its brains to find something that will succeed on the scale of SMS," comments James Tagg, managing director of push-to-talk startup FastMobile Inc.. "[PTT] will take off like SMS did. Our estimates suggest that push-to-talk could be worth €150 million ($173 million) in Europe over the next year, becoming a multi-billion-euro market in a few years." [Ed. note: Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?]

Despite Tagg’s drum-banging, European carriers remain skeptical about the long-term benefits of investing in the technology. Few regional trials have been announced, and local analysts seem reluctant to take the service too seriously.

"There isn’t much evidence of PTT’s success in Europe at the moment," says Ovum Ltd.'s principal analyst, Jeremy Green. "It is more of a toy and an interesting niche people will fool around with, rather than the next SMS. It won't be a big earner like text messaging. I don’t believe it is a very big opportunity."

U.S. analysts beg to differ, arguing that it is only a matter of time before PTT becomes a hit with European users. "I find it strange that we haven’t seen that much interest in Europe, as it is a very attractive product," says Ken Hyers, senior analyst at In-Stat/MDR. "Clearly, the strengths of the technology will have to be explained to customers, but people aren’t stupid. They quickly realized that SMS is a useful technology, and I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t see the advantages of PTT as well."

Hyers adds that the walkie-talkie-style service will appeal to the same segments of the population that SMS initially attracted. "There's certainly no way corporate executives and vice presidents will be using it, but there is a similarity in user demand between the two technologies."

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Ingo.Boltz
50%
50%
Ingo.Boltz,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:42:53 PM
re: PTT: The New SMS?
What PTT proponents fail to see is that one of the main attractions of SMS is non-intrusiveness. I can choose when to read, and when to reply to an SMS. A whole culture of youth communication, including SMS flirting, is based on that fact. PTT is just as intrusive as a regular phone call, and does not offer any communication comfort zone. It is therefore completely different from SMS. I believe it will remain a niche product.
lrmobile_castro
50%
50%
lrmobile_castro,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:42:41 PM
re: PTT: The New SMS?
I have never entirely understood the PTT thing but people love it here in the states, especially on the corporate level. Nextel has done quite well with it as well. I wouldn't discount it. PTT is not necessarily targeted to the teen users and its value is simplicity not lack of instrusion. There seems to be value in that. It also seems to attract a more mature and coporate audience.
iaw1965
50%
50%
iaw1965,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:42:30 PM
re: PTT: The New SMS?
I think that what you have to remember is that in Europe we have a different business model for Mobile services which limits one of the compelling reasons to buy PTT services.

We don't pay to recieve calls here in Europe and so price plans are for calls made only. This reduces the cost of ownership, for major corporations we also have a VPN solution that if you are big enough the handsets are treated as PBX extensions.

If you look at this technology behind PTT we have had it here in the UK for longer than we have had mobile phones, it is called TETRA Radio. Dolphin have been strugling to get customers ever since they consolidated the networks here in the UK.

With 18 years experience in wireless I have to say that PTT is more likely to be a rabbit than it is to be Orange!
GregCSG
50%
50%
GregCSG,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:42:28 PM
re: PTT: The New SMS?
PTT, at least as implemented by Nextel, has some additional features that are very useful to certain customers. Pre-defined talk groups can be set up and messages can be sent to all in that group (group mailing list). It's an all together different type of service that people seem to love or hate.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Building the Case for NFV

12|19|14   |   02:14   |   (0) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit, James Feger, VP, Network Strategy & Development at CenturyLink, talks about how the US operator is approaching virtual network functions from an operational and business case perspective.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
Comcast Launches 4K Streaming Service
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 12/18/2014
US Carriers, You're Going to Cuba!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/18/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive