Cingular Launches Pay-Per-Use Push to Talk

Now you can be an annoying, inconsiderate jerk on a pay-per-use basis, rather than by subscribing to Cingular’s Push-To-Talk plan. From their press release:

Customers using one of several wireless phones can now use the company’s PTT service, as needed, for $.15 per minute. In addition to having access to the largest PTT network coverage area, a customer can receive several enhanced PTT features unavailable on similar services offered by some other carriers including:

* Availability- unique icons allow PTT users to see if other PTT customers
are available before making a PTT call.
* Convert to Cellular – enables a PTT call to be converted to a regular
wireless voice call. Calls with up to 30 participants can be converted
effectively creating a mobile conference call.
* Voice Messaging – allows customers to send a voice message to one person
or a whole group.

Customers with the following phones can immediately begin annoying people:

Blackberry Pearl, LG models CG300 CU400 and F7200, Motorola V365, Samsung models D347, D357 and D407 or Sony- Ericsson Z525a. More devices will be released within the year. —MEGHANN MARCO

AT&T Says ‘Hear Me Now!’ Introduces Pay-Per-Use Push To Talk Service [Cingular via Gizmodo]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Amy Alkon says:

    Please be sure to loudly shout your phone number, which I’ll take to mean you’re lonely, and you want me to post it on my blog, so you can be called by people around the world, as Eva Burgess was: “Eva, your glasses are ready!”

    Do we really need to tell other adults to “use your inside voice”?

  2. katre says:

    Can anyone explain to me what the benefit of those push-to-talk things is, besides making me want to shove your phone down your throat?

  3. Kornkob says:

    I’m not sure– one of the main advantages to a radio system is that all the recipients can hear the traffic, which can be an advantgage to people making decisions based on what other workers are doing (like police officers altering their patrol route to be nearby reported problems or construction trucks avoiding a portion of the job site that is blocked, busy or dangerous). They also allow for multiple people (everyone with a radio) to be given the same information instantateously.

    However, my understanding of PPT as implemented by mobile companies is that they don’t allow for that very kind of communication because it is all person-to-person instead of broadcast-to-group.

    Given that PTT systems are, by their very nature, single duplex (only one person can communicate at a time) isntead of full duplex (you can both send and recieve voice communications at the same time) like a regular phone conversation it’s actually a less efficent way to have a person-to-person conversation. I don’t know why people voluntarily do that.

  4. dculberson says:

    Katre, I’m with you. What is the advantage of PTT again? Why would I pay extra for it?

    I have a Nextel phone – it’s paid for by work – and basically never use the PTT feature. It’s pointless, absurd, and a huge step backwards as far as phone functionality goes. But some people (usually loud, obnoxious ones) just love it.

  5. pestie says:

    The office next door to where I work uses those things. God, I hate them. I can’t figure out what the advantage is, either. But I know this: we can hear their goddamned conversations right through the interior walls.

  6. Christopher says:


    Most PTT services do allow broadcast-to-group, but I still think that PTT services are completely useless and annoying. What makes me hate them even more is that nearly all PTT phones have a “privacy mode” which allows the user to use it more like a half-duplex phone, yet no one who has this service ever uses this mode. NO ONE!

    The only time I’d ever think it would be useful is if a worker was on a job site and they needed something, it would be quicker to PTT “Hey, can you grab me XXXXX” than it would be to actually call the person & have them retrieve it, but that’s the only time when it would come in handy.

    What’s worse is companies like Boost Mobile use it to appeal to impoverished people as a way for them to behave in a way that tells everyone around them “LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME! I HAVE A CELL PHONE!,” meanwhile, everyone around them is thinking “God, who is this annoying #%$&?”

  7. Sudonum says:

    CBragg, I use my Nextel in that fashion. Although I will ceed your point that ALMOST no one uses DC in that fashion. And to those of you who question “why?”. It is infinetly cheaper to use the phone as a radio when you are using it almost constantly as alot of us in construction do. I would also like to point out that during the aftermath of Katrina, sonetimes the only way I could communicate with friends/loved ones/co-workers that were in the vicinity of New Orleans was through Direct Connect. For some reason it worked in areas even where the cell towers had been knocked out.

  8. juri squared says:

    When I worked IT at a school district, I had a PTT phone, and it was really very handy and quick – especially if I was, say, under a desk or halfway into a ceiling.

    Other than that? No, I see no use for PTT.

  9. Solo says:

    The only advantage is that it is free. As in included in your plan and does not suck up your minutes. At some minor inconvenience for the user, of course.

    There is not technical reason why it is cheaper to use, it’s just inconvenient on purpose, but free.

    What irritates me the most is the loud chirping. Of course, the creaky super amplified voice is not pleasant either. Nor is the fat guy shouting loud at it, while staring at it three feet away from his mouth.

    Now paying for the annoying feature when it’s not included in you plan, that is lost on me.

  10. Kornkob says:

    Cbragg: Thanks for the clarification.

    If PTT is capable of broadcasting to a group, then I can see many small business uses. Implementation of a citywide portable radio system for a delivery service or repair service is one example. The startup costs for a private radio system can be prohibitive yet being able to dispatch without having to call each person individually— that I can see value in. Another example: we have a privately operated car service in Madison that offers free transport to the elderly and women after dark. This might be a cost effective way for them to dispatch without the overwhelming base costs of a radio in every vehicle.

    But average joe? No point other than to be an annoying douchebag.

  11. HaxRomana says:

    A lot of people had this at the college I went to [for one semester before mass annoyance forced me to transfer]. I saw it used a lot, but only for one thing; the person making the call would say “where you at,” and the person receiving it would state their location.

    “Hey, where you at?”
    “Jessica’s in Pottstown.”
    “Ok, but where’s Ashley?”
    “Hey, Ashley, where you at?”
    (Ad infinitum)

    I think the appeal is that you can use it for simple questions like that when you need a quick answer but don’t want to have an actual conversation. It’s still stupid.