Qualcomm Pursues 4G Push-To-Talk
PTT is a technology that allows users to push a button on their phone and instantly chat with another person or group on the same operator's network. It is a popular feature on the old Nextel iDen network, and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is now starting to deploy the technology across its 3G CDMA network using Qualcomm's QChat software. (See Sprint Network Vision and 4G LTE Plans Should Integrate with Clearwire .) Ed Knapp, Qualcomm SVP of business development and engineering, told Light Reading Mobile last week that the chipset designer is also working on PTT for 4G and hopes to get those features incorporated in Release 12 of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) LTE standard. This likely means that push-to-talk might be commercially available in LTE handsets by 2015 or 2016.
Operators today are mostly working off LTE release 9, which was frozen at the end of 2009. Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is expected to be one of the first operators to incorporate some of the LTE Advanced features in 2013.
Commercial handset launches aren't the only area, however, that Qualcomm believes will be interested in 4G PTT. "Emergency workers," are eager to get the walkie-talkie style communications on a new network, according to Knapp.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile