Push-To-Talk Sees Slow Growth

The U.S. subscriber base will grow from 16.8 million at the end of 2004 to 33.6 million at the end of 2009, according to the high-tech market research firm. Slightly faster growth is anticipated inthe worldwide market than in the United States.

“The majority of growth will come from continued expansion in the business market and moderate uptake in the consumer market, especially youth,” said Becky Diercks, In-Stat analyst. “The PTT/PoC market is an emerging one, however, and many barriers to growth remain, particularly in the areas of technology and interoperability. As a result, In-Stat expects the market will expand slowly over the next five years.” The PTT market pioneer, Nextel (soon merging with Sprint), will retain its lock on the market during this time, due to its superior service, experience, intense focus and support of PTT.

A recent report by In-Stat also found the following:

— As a result of the increase in availability from cellular providers, PTT/PoC is becoming more of a mainstream Value-Added-Service (VAS), such as caller ID and voice mail, a commodity that cellular providers can offer to their customers for an additional fee, over and above the price of traditional voice communication.

— Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) for PTT/PoC is expected to decline throughout the next five years, as more carriers price PTT/PoC in line with other VASs and/or adopt pay-per-use price plans.

— One-third of respondents to a proprietary In-Stat survey would consider switching carriers in order to be able to use PTT/PoC.

— Of users willing to pay something extra, the average premium price point is $4.80/month for service, but about half feel PTT should be included in the standard subscription, according to results from In-Stat’s survey.