Friday, April 4, 2008

MetroPCS Intros Push To Talk, Has Revol Roaming...and other roaming...

Looks like Push To Talk is coming to MetroPCS in some capacity or other. The first phone to support it will be the Kyocera K312p, and other phones can be upgraded to do the same thing. Why? Because it's it's more like GimPTT.

Here's how it works:

1. To initiate a PTT session, the software app on the phone sends a special text message to the recipient.
2. The recipient phone calls back and the original phne uses Caller ID to tell that the callback is for the purpose of "PTT".
3. You pretend you're actually using PTT when you're really just doing a regular phone call.

Simple to implement, simple to extend to other carriers or whatever, but probably no better in speed than the Verizon Winforia PTT system (slow), Alltel's Kodiak system (slow to start, fine afterwords) or AT&T's Kodiak system (even slower to start, fine afterwards). It's probably similar in function to the Revol PTT system, and I'm not impressed. There are better ways to spend the $5 a month that this service will cost, once it's rolled out everywhere...and no, I don't want a Kyocera PTT phone either. In short, this ain't iDEN or QChat, so fuhgetaboudit.

In other news, I just found out that MetroPCS has an agreement with Revol (the Great Lakes unlimited carrier) that if a MetroPCS phone enters their territory, you still get unlimited service at no extra charge. This is a nice extension of the MetroPCS Detroit market, and has been around for awhile. Though with prices for Revol service being what they are, why not drive up to Detroit, grab a MetroPCS phone (which is cheaper and better than what Revol has anyway), then use it in Revol territory? Unless you need a local number...

In real news, however, MetroPCS has intro'd a new PRL (preferred roaming list) on its phones. Dial *228 to update and you'll find that your phone suddenly prefers Alltel when roaming. Why? Alltel obviously made a decent deal with MetroPCS; roaming on them is a mere 24 cents per minute. Still not great, but a far sight from the 49-79 cents seen elsewhere. Also, in some areas it is rumored that, where MetroPCS is still setting up main infrastructure of its own, they'll let you roam on Verizon for free. Probably rather expensive for them, but nice considering that otherwise they would receive lots of coverage complaints as they built out their network.

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