On Thursday, Motorola announced that Jordanian carrier Fastlink will be the first company in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region to use push-to-talk (PTT) technology. Fastlink plans to introduce a pilot version of a service similar to Nextel's popular , which creates an instant connection between two cell phones.
In addition, Nextel Mexico, owned by Nextel subsidiary NII Holdings, plans to launch soon its own DirectConnect-like service in Tijuana and in Baja California, Mexico, a source said.
Nextel, which is based in Reston, Va., has been the only company to offer a walkie-talkie option for cell phones in North America for more than a decade. The service uses PTT technology developed by Motorola. In May this year, Nextel CEO Tim Donahue told the audience at a conference that the U.S. wireless carrier had plans tobeyond U.S. borders.
With PTT, callers need only push a single button to connect to another cell phone. It happens in less than a second, as with walkie-talkies. Because there's no time spent dialing or making a connection to a network, calls are shorter and less expensive than usual. It's won favor with corporations with mobile work forces that can benefit from such instant communication.
In North America, Nextel is now facing challenges from U.S. carriersand AT&T Wireless, which intend to launch copycat PTT services by the end of the year. Pushing PTT outside the United States will provide Nextel and Motorola with an even bigger advantage, Nextel executives have said.