AT&T has upgraded one of the oldest mobile business services offered by wireless carriers with AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk (PTT) service. PTT was perhaps made most famous by Nextel, which heavily marketed the feature as a differentiator over other mobile services at the time. Nextel was eventually acquired by Sprint and the PTT feature lost some emphasis as a result.

“Field workers can now do a lot more than talk with new Push-to-X (PTX) functionality,” said Igor Glubochansky, AVP, Mobility Product Management for AT&T in a blog post announcing the new PTT functionality. “They can send highly-secure texts, photos, videos, voice recordings, files and location data to groups and contacts.”

EPTT, according to the blog post, has added four features to the service:

  • Location-based services – Teams can more easily coordinate when they know where each other are. It’ll help supervisors strategically assign work to those closest to the job. And new geo-fence alerts will help them keep their team members out of dangerous areas.
  • Voice message fallback – You can still reach those workers who don’t have their AT&T EPTT device on them at all times. Now, they’ll receive a voice message if they miss the real-time call.
  • Easier adoption – This upgrade includes a customizable user interface. It includes 8 assignable talk group soft keys and the 1-touch operation of a traditional radio. This makes the transition to LTE easier for organizations looking to augment their LMR networks.
  • Better Integration – AT&T EPTT users can also connect their LMR networks from all major 2-way radio suppliers directly to AT&T’s push-to-talk service. They can also take advantage of APIs and integrate seamlessly with AT&T Workforce Manager and Fleet Complete.

AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk
PTT services give smartphones or tablets walkie-talkie-like functionality. Generally, these platforms are aimed at construction workers, utility workers, first responders and others who spend most of their time in the field. AT&T had previously upgraded the platform in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

AT&T is not the only company to feature PTT. Earlier this month, Persistent Systems introduced Dual Channel Push-to-Talk. Dual PTT, an accessory to the MPU5 Mobile Ad Hoc Networking (MANET) radio, allows users to select two of 16 talk groups, according to the press release. If the participant is using a stereo headphone, audio can be divided between the two speakers and individually controlled. Transmission by the user can be to either group or both simultaneously.