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AT&T Now Signing Up Enhanced PTT Customers

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AT&T Enhanced PTT

by cellphonesaretools    Sep 18, 2012, 11:00 PM

I've been a Nextel customer for ten years. I keep wondering when, or perhaps even if, Sprint will get serious about keeping their lead in the PTT arena.

AT&T is obviously timing their enhancements to their PTT service to lure customers away from Sprint as the Nextel iDEN network winds down. I don't think AT&T's PTT will ever equal Nextel's iDEN PTT experience, but the huge advantage AT&T has is their strong customer base of businesses, due to (a) their large footprint in the US, and (b) the fact that their GSM voice & data service roams globally better than any other carrier's offering, at least for those traveling to the EU on business.

That global roaming ability is already a huge draw to businesses, and I can see where that well-established advantage, combined with a healthy push for even just a moderately competitive PTT offering in the US, could sway a lot of large companies to switch their corporate wireless business to AT&T with the end of the iDEN network, i.e. the end of the best PTT performance there has ever been. AT&T could be in a position to provide businesses with one-stop shopping, as it were: global roaming for traveling executives, PTT for the troops in the field and in operations at home in the US.

Sprint is still getting a lot of internet postings (even on their own Sprint Community website) on the spotty-to-poor PTT service the new CDMA-based Sprint Direct Connect ("SDC") is providing—lots of grumbling out there. The Network Vision buildout is not solving the problems fast enough to keep happy the customers who have been pressured into switching from NDC on iDEN to SDC on CDMA.

Sprint's PTT handset offering is meager at best, Kyocera already has a reputation for lousy speakerphone performance, and the SDC PTT lineup has effectively been stagnant fot six months (the new Dura XT does not count, it is just a warmed-over previous model, allegedly with some of the speakerphone shortcomings corrected and a new label slapped on, but still not up to iDEN/Motorola standards).

So all in all, the new Sprint Direct Connect has been a real let-down to the average Nextel Direct Connect customer, and Sprint seems content to let the AT&T camel poke its nose under the PTT tent. Typical Sprint corporate performance, long on hype, short on performance. AT&T and Verizon both smell opportunity, and even if they only snag 40% of the soon-to-be-booted Nextel customer base, that's still a total of about 2,000,000 customers they can add to their own subscriber base (est. 5,000,000 remaining Nextel customers X an estimated 40% poaching rate. In this day & age of saturated mobilephone penetration in the US, both AT&T and Verizon will be only too happy to take advantage of Sprint's lackluster, or more accurately, highly disappointing, efforts to excite & retain the remaining Nextel customer base.

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