Optus has launched its push to talk mobile service for Australian consumers. Aiming squarely at the youth market, the service will cost 95c a day for casual use or AU$14.95 per month on a plan.
The push to talk service will allow users with compatible mobile phones to instantaneously chat with up to five other people at once at the push of a button - just like a walkie talkie. The service will work across Optus' entire GSM network, which it claims covers 96 percent of the Australian population. Optus will also offer a broadcast SMS service to a push to talk group starting from May.
The Optus service is currently available for the Nokia 6020, 6170, 5140 and 7270 handsets (which have a dedicated push to talk button), and the Nokia 6600, 7610, 6670 and 6630 (after a PTT client is downloaded to the phone). These push to talk-capable handsets also operate as normal mobile phones for calling, SMS,MMS and Optus Zoo services. The Nokia 6020 and 6170 are available for AU$0 upfront on the 24 month yes 35 plan. Optus push to talk is available on selected Business Edge, yesBusiness, PTTyes plans and Corporate Flat Chat plans.
For casual users, the service is available on a daily rate of 95c which is only charged on days the service is used. For more regular users, the service is available on a monthly plan rate which includes 30 free SMS. As a special introductory offer this monthly plan rate will be AU$9.95 available to customers who sign up before 30 June 2005. From then, the standard monthly plan rate will be AU$14.95.
Telstra launched its push to talk service last year, which operates across both its GSM and CDMA networks. Telstra supports one phone each for GSM (Nokia 5140) and CDMA (Motorola T300P), with its casual rate 2c per second or AU$50 per month on a plan.
Bear in mind, however, that just like the early days of SMS there is no interoperability between push to talk carriers at the moment. This means Optus customers will not be able to use the push to talk service with Telstra users, and vice versa.