Telecom Lead America: AT&T has become the first U.S. carrier to offer push-to-talk capabilities on iPhone.
AT&T on Monday said its Enhanced Push-to-Talk (EPTT) is now available to AT&T business customers through a new app available for iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S.
A push-to-talk feature is available on some non-Nextel phones from Sprint, Verizon and AT&T, but this is the first time it’s available on the iPhone in the U.S., AP reported.
AT&T is launching EPTT at a time when Sprint is shutting down the Nextel network this summer because it doesn’t support high-speed data traffic. It’s trying to get as many Nextel users as possible to switch to Sprint phones with push-to-talk capability, but it’s competing with Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
The telecom major says AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk can be used over Wi-Fi, giving U.S.-based customers improved in-building coverage and access to the service via compatible Wi-Fi networks.
AT&T has more than 32,000 AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots.
The new offering will assist AT&T to enhance its reach to enterprises from industries such as manufacturing, engineering, hospitality, construction and government.
According to a report by IDC, SMBs in North America will spend around $162 billion on IT in 2012, growing at 6.3 percent annually from 2007.
Mike Troiano, vice president, Advanced Mobility Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions, said: “From the start, AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk was designed specifically for AT&T’s speedy 4G LTE networks and now we are offering even more devices so our business customers can communicate faster and to larger talk groups.”
A poll by AT&T earlier said 98 percent of small businesses use some form of wireless technologies in their operations. The AT&T poll says 56 percent of smartphones used by SMB employees for business purposes are 4G, a 70 percent jump in usage from last year’s 33 percent. 90 percent of the businesses using 4G smartphones are satisfied with the speed.