Cingular Wireless has rolled out a push-to-talk service that goes beyond the capabilities of a traditional walkie-talkie.
Launched last week, the service includes a "convert to cellular" feature that allows a push-to-talk call to be converted into a regular voice call, allowing calls from groups of participants to be converted into a regular conference call.
It also includes icons that let customers see if other push-to-talk customers are available before trying to reach them. The service also features call waiting that works whether a customer is on a PTT (post, telegraph and telecommunications) or regular cell phone call. It will compete most directly against the walkie-talkie service offered by Sprint Nextel.
Cingulars PTT service costs $9.99 per month for unlimited PTT minutes, or $19.99 per month for a family plan that gives up to five family members unlimited access to the PTT service. Business customers can add a PTT service option to each line of cellular service for an additional $9.99.
The service initially is available on two phones, the Samsung D357 and LG Electronics F7200.