Cell phones with push-to-talk capabilities are available throughout most of the United States from Sprint Nextel and Cingular, but they have not been available in Alaska until now.
On April 10, Kodiak Networks announced that Cellular One has offered its push-to-talk service to Cellular One customers in all of the areas it serves in Alaska, including the companys namesake, Kodiak Island. This is the first push-to-talk service to be offered in the state, according to a Kodiak spokesperson.
Cellular One is part of Dobson Cellular Systems of Oklahoma City, Okla. The company will be offering the Kodiak Real-Time Exchange Platform, which includes PTT, a presence service, instant groups and conferencing. Cellular One customers will have to upgrade to a new phone to use the service. Currently, the company will offer a Motorola V365 to support push-to-talk. However, other phones will be offered in the future.
"Nextel was never built in Alaska," said Craig Farrill, president and CEO of Kodiak Networks in San Ramon, California. "Were putting this next-generation network in as the first generation."
Farrill said that the new features that Kodiak brings to the Cellular One service will benefit the rapidly growing construction, oil and fishing industries in Alaska.
"Coordinating is one of the most powerful benefits to push-to-talk and it applies brilliantly to industries like fishing, forestry, public safety, construction, oil and utilities," Farrill said. He added that wireless communications has been extremely important to Alaska because of the states remoteness and its topography.
"Theyve got a lot of areas that can only be reached by boat," he said, "so the wireless system becomes the predominant way of communicating."
Farrill noted that users of the new service will be able to tell at a glance whether their co-workers, friends or family are available. "They wont be wasting time on the air. They can talk to people who are available and send call me alerts to people when theyre not available," he said.
The new push-to-talk service will be available immediately in Fairfanks, Anchorage and Juneau, as well as other communities served by Cellular One.