Verizon BlackBerrys to Get New Push to Talk (PTT) Feature for $5/Month
Select Verizon Wireless BlackBerry smartphones will soon get a new, $5-per-month push to talk (PTT) service.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
If you’re a BlackBerry user on Verizon Wireless’s network, you may soon have access to a new push to talk (PTT) option–though you’ll have to dish out $5 more a month for the service.
It’s unclear at this point if all Verizon BlackBerrys will get PTT, but both the BlackBerry Tour 9630 and the as-of-yet unannounced Bold 9650, which is expected to land on Verizon late this spring, look like likely candidates. And it seems like BlackBerry OS 5.0 may also be a requirement for PTT.
Verizon hasn’t made any official announcements related to the upcoming PTT service, but it did post some information on its mobile website. From Verizon:
“Push to Talk allows you to use your BlackBerry Smartphone like a walkie-talkie to communicate with an individual or group of individuals who are also Verizon Wireless Push to Talk subscribers. Simply select a contact, then press and hold the Push to Talk Key to talk.”
I first heard word of PTT on Verizon a few weeks ago via Twitter, following the leak of an unofficial, beta OS for the BlackBerry Tour 9630, which reportedly included a previously unseen PTT option. Then, late last week mobile industry blog BoyGeniusReport.com said an anonymous source informed it that PTT would indeed be coming to the Verizon Tour/Bold sooner than later.
PTT isn’t new, nor is Verizon the first carrier to try its hand at a BlackBerry PTT service. Most recently, AT&T and Sprint offered PTT for BlackBerry. But Sprint is the only U.S. carrier that’s had any luck with the service; AT&T has since ceased to offer PTT via BlackBerry.
Sprint’s PTT service on its Nextel network has been popular in the past because Sprint offered customers service plans that included a certain amount of “free” PTT minutes on top of their normal voice minutes. I’m not so sure Verizon customers will be interested in paying an additional $5 a month for PTT, but perhaps the carrier will announce other incentives when it makes PTT official.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.