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Push-to-talk over GPRS by Nokia, Siemens and Ericsson
Posted on 17-Feb-2003 23:51 | Filed under: News

Push to talk service is a two-way form of communications that allows users to engage in immediate communication with one or more receivers, similar to Walkie Talkie -- simply by pushing a button on their handsets. Users receiving the transmission hear the sender's voice automatically without having to answer the call. Business users like the fleet management communication between taxi drivers and their dispatcher is one concrete example of such a use case. Consumers benefit from push to talk service in coordinating recreational and social activities (for example, families or friends separated in a large ski resort or amusement park) representing a huge market potential for the services. Previous implementations of push to talk service in cellular networks have been based on proprietary technology and on a limited scale.

Ericsson, Nokia and Siemens are jointly defining specifications for an open standard to speed the adoption of direct-call push to talk service over GPRS. Push to talk is a cost-efficient, simple to use direct voice service for GPRS-based systems that has attracted the interest of leading operators. The technology uses the capabilities of the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) as specified by 3GPP for enabling IP connections between mobile phones. Initial trials are expected to begin in the second half of 2003.

The specifications created through this collaboration will be submitted to relevant industry bodies in order to create a standard that will avoid fragmentation and establish a unified push to talk over GPRS market with the same economies of scale that made GSM a global success. The interoperable technology resulting from this work will allow mobile phones and networks to be used for push to talk communication using a variety of radio access networks.

Ericsson, Nokia and Siemens are also inviting mobile network operators and other manufacturers to join them in creating an open, multi-vendor market for push to talk in the GSM evolution path (GSM/GPRS/EDGE/WCDMA) by developing products and services based on the open standard they are defining.

"AT&T Wireless supports this joint initiative. Our goal is to connect our customers to the people and information they care most about," said Rod Nelson, CTO of AT&T Wireless, "This new service, which will open to a broad audience, is another way to connect and is an example of how the scale and flexibility of GSM/GPRS/EDGE leads to new and cost effective services."

Cingular Wireless is in support of this cooperation and is evaluating push to talk technology for its customers. "We are always looking for new service offerings like push to talk, that allow our customers to quickly and simply connect to others" said Mike Dobbs, Vice President of Product Management at Cingular. "The standards-based approach taken by these manufacturers will allow carriers to ultimately deliver this service to the largest market in the most efficient and effective way."

"This collaboration will ensure that push to talk builds on the future proofed and standardized third generation core network IMS," says Dr. Jan Uddenfeldt, Senior Vice President Technology, Ericsson. "It will only have to be integrated once and is easily maintained, which brings great cost benefits to the operators. It demonstrates the importance of open standards for which Ericsson has always been a strong proponent."

"Push to talk provides cellular operators with a completely new means of connecting people," said Dr. J.T. Bergqvist, Executive Vice President, Nokia. "It is an attractive option for instant voice communication, complementing present dialed voices services. Push to talk's immediate type of communications can reach individuals or groups, and it can also be used to enable direct voice communication with other IMS-based services, such as interactive gaming. GPRS and 3G mobile network operators, having more than 800 million customers today, can easily implement push to talk capability with a low level of additional investment to their existing networks."

"Push to talk services - to be deployed on existing GPRS and future 3G networks -- will provide great value to both business users and consumers, and thus will help operators generate additional revenues," reinforces Harry Strasser, CTO & Senior Vice President, End-to-End Solutions, Siemens Information and Communication Mobile. "These applications will enable operators to differentiate themselves from other players in the increasingly competitive landscape of mobile multimedia services. The IMS will provide the IP-based control and will especially enable operators to leverage some of their key strengths -- for example, location information and presence -- to provide end-users with a truly new customer experience."

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