Back when voice communication was still king, phone calls weren’t the only game in town. Some carriers offered a service called “push-to-talk” – a two-way radio, or walkie-talkie-like solution, for when a phone call just wouldn’t do.

In America, most carriers found little traction with PTT. The iDEN-based carrier Nextel -now part of Sprint– saw success for a few years offering dispatch service to its customers, at one time numbering around 20 million people. These days, that number has shrunk to below 5 million, but other carriers are still trying to pick the Nextel carcass clean. The most dedicated PTT competitor these days is the nation’s second-largest, AT&T.

Recently, AT&T rebooted its own PTT offering for North America, switching to an app-based service, adding interoperability and other features, and broadening its device selection. Thanks to our friends at the carrier, we’ve secured some handsets to check it out. Does the new “Enhanced PTT” offer a compelling experience? Should the millions of Sprint subscribers about to be kicked off the old iDEN network consider it a viable alternative? What’s the big deal about push-to-talk anyway? For the answers to these questions and more, check out our guided video tour below.

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