PTT: The New SMS?

“The mobile world has been racking its brains to find something that will succeed on the scale of SMS,” comments James Tagg, managing director of push-to-talk startup FastMobile Inc.. “[PTT] will take off like SMS did. Our estimates suggest that push-to-talk could be worth 150 million ($173 million) in Europe over the next year, becoming a multi-billion-euro market in a few years.” [Ed. note: Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?]

Despite Tagg’s drum-banging, European carriers remain skeptical about the long-term benefits of investing in the technology. Few regional trials have been announced, and local analysts seem reluctant to take the service too seriously.

“There isn’t much evidence of PTT’s success in Europe at the moment,” says Ovum Ltd.’s principal analyst, Jeremy Green. “It is more of a toy and an interesting niche people will fool around with, rather than the next SMS. It won’t be a big earner like text messaging. I don’t believe it is a very big opportunity.”

U.S. analysts beg to differ, arguing that it is only a matter of time before PTT becomes a hit with European users. “I find it strange that we haven’t seen that much interest in Europe, as it is a very attractive product,” says Ken Hyers, senior analyst at In-Stat/MDR. “Clearly, the strengths of the technology will have to be explained to customers, but people aren’t stupid. They quickly realized that SMS is a useful technology, and I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t see the advantages of PTT as well.” [Unstrung]

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