AT&T brings enhanced push-to-talk app to iPhone

The carrier's new iPhone app allows business users to communicate with large groups of people via a Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
AT&T's enhanced push-to-talk app for the iPhone.
AT&T's Enhanced Push-to-Talk app for the iPhone. AT&T

AT&T has unveiled an iOS app that turns the iPhone into a walkie-talkie for the business world.

Known as Enhanced Push-to-Talk (Enhanced PTT), the new app brings two-radio features to the iPhone 5 and 4S. With PTT, mobile users can talk to one person via a private call or a large number of people though a group call. And like a walkie-talkie, a phone equipped with the app can switch between talk and listen mode with the touch of a button.

The app supports up to 250 people, gearing it for certain types of workplaces and first responders, according to the Associated Press.

Enhanced PTT uses voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to send the conversation over an AT&T Wi-Fi network or the carrier's 3G and 4G networks.

In its description of the app, AT&T touts a number of features, including fast call setup times and low latency, several advanced push-to-talk features, the ability to support large contact lists, and an admin tool for managing users of the app.

Business users who download the app also need to activate it and work with AT&T to set it up.

This is the first time a U.S. carrier is offering push-to-talk capabilities on the iPhone, AT&T said Monday.

"Across industries such as manufacturing, engineering, hospitality, construction, and government, organizations need instant communications in challenging environments," Mike Troiano, vice president of Advanced Mobility Solutions for AT&T Business Solutions, said in a statement. "From the start, AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk was designed specifically for AT&T's speedy 4G LTE networks and now we are offering even more devices so our business customers can communicate faster and to larger talk groups."

Enhanced PTT currently supports the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S using AT&T's wireless service.