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Orange Misses PTT Push

Orange SA (London/Paris: OGE) is behind schedule with the launch of Europe’s first commercial push-to-talk (PTT) service, originally due for release in the second quarter of this year.

In January the carrier announced a deal with startup Kodiak Networks for the launch of services in the U.K. and France by the end of June (see Orange Pushes Startup).

Dubbed Talk Now, the Orange service is intended to allow people to use their phones as walkie-talkies, merely pushing a button to talk to another user or group of users (see PTT: The New SMS? and Europe Catches PTT Bug).

Despite missing its target date, Orange is playing down any suggestion of serious technical troubles.

“We are in trials at the moment with companies across the U.K. and in France,” spokesman Stuart Jackson tells Unstrung. “We are looking at commercially launching it in the coming weeks. While it is a couple of weeks behind, we want to make sure the service is of benefit to customers. We are pioneering the service so we need to make sure we are getting it right.”

Orange’s Jackson is unable to specify an exact launch date.

Kodiak insists it is business as usual for the startup. “Kodiak is still actively working with Orange on their upcoming launch,” confirms a spokeswoman.

Further European launches in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Slovakia were originally targeting a third-quarter 2004 timeframe. Orange is unable to confirm whether this remains a realistic deployment date.

“When we launch in the U.K. and France we will have a clearer roadmap for other countries," says Jackson.

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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