Bell to launch HSPA+ push-to-talk service, plus PTT apps

Ian Hardy

April 7, 2012 10:36 am


The Sonim XP5520 Bolt is heading to Bell and it’ll be available this month. However there’s something bigger happening in the background. The Bolt is a push-to-talk (PTT) device – thus giving customers instant communication – and will run on Bell’s HSPA+ network, so this service will also be launching this month.

We’ve received an internal doc that states “Bell’s PTT has several competitive advantages over the competition’s iDEN technology” – namely TELUS’ Mike Network. Bell will be partnering up with Kodiak for the PTT rollout and data speeds will apparently be 1,000 times faster that TELUS’ PTT network. Bell PTT devices will be capable of speeds of 21Mbps, vs. Mike’s 56KB.

The Sonim is the first device that will be available, along with some sort of PTT rate plan. In addition, Bell will be launching a PTT app that “will be enabling PTT on smart/superphones”. Currently there are two devices that have been approved: Samsung Galaxy S II and the BlackBerry Curve 9360. As to how the app will work, the doc says that both apps will run in the background, the GSII will be operated by touching the display, while the 9360 “convenience key will be assigned as PTT button. The customer will also have the option of using their trackpad to highlight and select the app base PTT button.” 

In addition, there are future plans to launch LTE-capable push-to-talk devices. A previous doc showed the Sonim XP5520 Bolt launching on April 10th so we’ll probably see an announcement next week.

More soon!
(Thanks tipster!)

  • Mike

    Way to go Bell.

    First it was tv content, then radio stations now ptt products.

    Time to check whats in their kool-aid over at bell as this just seems stupid.

    • Alex Perrier

      i am more in favour of using an open PTT, cross-carrier, cross-platform PTT protocol than Bell’s proprietary and half-hearted attempt to relaunch a product that never took off on its CDMA network.

      There are already many apps that can let you exchange voice clips. Syrup recently demonstrated text+, which lets you exchange pictures and 10-4 style voice messages as well as traditional phone calls. There’s certainly an app like this designed for enterprises, so using Bell’s mystery meat isn’t necessary at all.

      Solo Mobile, the Bell brand that pioneered youth-targeted push-to-talk in Canada, is now on its last legs. No more push-to-talk phones, just two boring handsets and plans that nobody wants. Why is Bell trying to sell push-to-talk once again? Why did Bell give up on video calling, which they promised in the 90s on French commercials? Bell isn’t innovating. Like their Mobile TV, they’re just trying again to sell a proprietary product which failed before but *MAY* have mixed success today.

  • TanGyal

    Actually this is smart – PTT is still used frequently in the trucking and construction business, and these customers want smartphones – they need phones with decent cameras, email and other apps. I know for a fact that this will keep my dad as a Bell customer – he was thisclose to moving to Telus.

  • Brian

    Mike.
    Telus’ roaming partner for iDen in the USA has announced they are shutting down their network. This leaves Telus with 300,000 customers that will lose US Roaming with regards to PTT service.

    Bell will have US roaming coverage when they launch PTT. From a marketing and shareholder perspective, this is an EXCELLENT opportunity for Bell to up their numbers.

    99.9% of consumers do not care about PTT, but there are thousands of logistic, transportation, food, security, hospitality, and other organizations that will jump on this bandwagon with wide open arms.

    A new improved PTT technology combined with Bell’s latest 4G devices. What more could these types of clients ask for?

    • Brian

      Oh,
      And about the Sonim handset? Indestructible…and if you do manage to break it, it is backed by an industry leading 3 year accidental coverage warranty, at no extra cost to the customer.

      This phone can be dunked in 2 meters of salt-water for 2 hours, and it’ll still ring and vibrate. This phone can be used as a hockey puck outside, and you simply won’t break the thing.

    • Chris

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Transonic

      What in the name of all that is Android is this? A comment on MobileSyrup that’s well thought out, educated and sensible? My God I’ve found something so rare that I took a picture of it and have it mounted on my wall.

    • Theywillbepissed

      @Transonic – Your a piece of crap loser. Go to North Korea and have fun being a slave you insensitive baaboon!

    • superbang

      we tested that phone at work and rolled over it with a two motor. the screen went black but the phone still made ptt calls and everything else worked. these phones are awesome.

  • scazz

    @mike military, thousands of transport workers, shipping, etc, all use bells 10-4 network right now on old Sanyo phones, as they havnt got a new one in 2.5 years and all have been waiting to update. With the new galaxy rugby with a possible new PPT app it’s a killer combo. Just because you don’t care doesn’t mean anything.

    • Chris

      Bang on with that one. Mike, Rogers has brain washed you for too long my friend

  • Bren

    Having been tricked by Bell once before about PTT, I’ll wait and see.

    • Brian

      Bren,
      I’ve had an opportunity to test this new technology.

      Kodiak is a leader in the PTT field, and there are no compromises when it comes to their implementation on the Bell network.

      The PTT technology, as amazing as it could be, works very well. The issues suffered by 10-4 users will be gone when they migrate to the next gen PTT platform.

  • karim

    i know PTT network whan i was in United Arab Emirates in 2002
    very old service

  • Negative Ned

    Why not just have an app that does ptt over the phone’s data? And if companies don’t want their employees using the phones to make personal calls, deactivate voice calling. Of course, the carriers make sure ping times are just high enough to make vo3g annoying, so you have to get a voice or ptt plan.

    • Brian

      Other PTT apps and solutions already exist, but none are as reliable as the solution that Kodiak has…there is a reason they have become #1 in the world for PTT offerings.

  • Jim Shorts

    So will PTT data usage be free of charge or will it go against your monthly quota? If the latter is true, I would rather they give us unlimited Canada wide like the smaller carriers are doing.

    Current data rates are ridiculously expensive and all I see “innovative” from the Telco’s are ways to dip into your data quota.

    PTT is a great feature for certain people and its data usage should be excluded from your monthly data quota. Let’s hope Bell is listening…

    • Brian

      Jim
      PTT will be a value added service. It will come in a few flavours; voice + ptt combo plan, ptt only, and ptt optional service. All 3 variants will offer UNLIMITED service within the PTT network. I do not have pricing or any other details yet with regards to usage.

      While in Canada, there will be NO data consumption for PTT as you are subscribing yo an unlimited service.

      PTT will be competitively priced against what is currently available.

      Bell’s goal is to steal as many Mike customers as possible.

    • Jim Shorts

      Thanks Brian for the clarification.

  • karim

    what is PTT?
    Push-to-Talk turns a mobile phone into a walkie-talkie and allows customers to send their message to an individual or a group of receivers at the same time. Push-to-talk allows customers to contact their friends and colleagues directly without dialing their numbers. A message can be directly sent through a click of a button and the receivers can listen to the message through the loudspeaker of their devices.
    no need for data

  • MG

    So will Bell upgrade existing 10-4 customers free of charge? Riiiiight…. They currently provide such a substandard service, they give it away for free in many instances as it’s so bad, and now these very same customers have will have to pay for the new hardware AND they will have to pay for the PTT feature. Good luck with that Bell. Always looking for ways t piss off customers!!!

    • Brian

      MG,
      There are customers who get the 10-4 monthly service for free? I had no idea!

    • MG

      Brian,
      Sure they do. 10-4 is a feature as is voicemail, callerID, etc. There are many customers that get free features for various reasons. As compensation for a poor service, price negotiation, etc. This is common with large (corporate) customers.

      I doubt they’ll maintain 2 platforms for too long, as it would be costly and illogical. This means that at some point everybody on 10-4 wiill have to switch to the new service or abandon it. Current 10-4 users: get ready to get screwed once again by the big blue.

      It will be comical to see Bell go after non-business users with this so as to ammorize the investment. I have no doubt they’ll try, although consumers have not adopted it and there are plenty of free IP based services out there, albeit not as robust.

  • Toysandme

    Those who want ptt for free NOW just use Heytell

  • Mike

    Sure lots of people still pay for PTT services.. but that’s ONLY because they still use antique phones. Almost all smartphones platforms have MULTIPLE PTT clients that cost nothing more then a few kb of data. Me and family/friends, we use Tikl, and LOVE it! The only reason I can see why Bell is doing this, is cause they want another way to dig into peoples pockets. My Question becomes, when they make this official, will they be typical Bell, and try to prevent other services from working?

    • Mo Habibi

      Have you ever used a downloadable PTT client? Great if you are screwing around for fun, but you would not want to use HeyTell or others like Voxer for business — too unreliable and poor quality. I went to Kodiak’s site and they have a demo – looks very promising.

  • Chris

    Why would I care about data speeds on a rugged voice handset? And all carriers now have similar smartphones on very similar speed networks that all have access to free or nearly free PTT apps. Why would i pay monthly for a PTT app?

  • MobileBruce

    As a developer for industrial mobile apps, would like to know more about the PTT ASAP. IDEN is good, but the I1 is the only semi smart phone option and restrictedto slow bandwidth on data.
    dispatch apps would be mazing with this service.