Bracing for wireless walkie-talkie war

TORONTO, (Oct. 2, 2003) — Telus Corp. announced yesterday it plans to ramp up additional walkie-talkie-like service in Canada through its wireless arm as it faces new competition.

The news came after Bell Mobility announced its planned effort to introduce a version of so-called push-to-talk on its CDMA network. Bell is working with partner Sprint Corp. in the U.S., which plans to start the service this year.

Telus runs a highly successful push-to-talk service on its special iDen network. At present, it has no competitors, and the service it calls Mike helps it post some of the best mobile phone results in Canada. Telus president and chief executive officer Darren Entwistle said a CDMA version will probably come out next year.

Push-to-talk allows users — generally those in businesses such as construction and trucking — speak to others with a simple click, rather than dialling or punching in a phone number and waiting to connect.

Competition has hit the U.S. push-to-talk market, formerly controlled by Nextel Communications Inc., with its iDen product. Verizon Communications Inc. has entered the market with a CDMA product, just as Sprint plans to do.

— Via the Globe and Mail

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