Samsung Electronics has agreed to license push-to-talk technology from Nokia in several mobile phones slated for launch in 2004 and 2005.
A number of mobile phone companies in Europe and Asia plan to launch push-to-talk services this year, following the success of the walkie talkie-type service pioneered by Nextel Communications in the US.
With push-to-talk, customers can use their mobile phones like walkie-talkies to communicate with a selected group or individual with the push of a single button.
Nokia, which has already introduced two push-to-talk enabled mobile phones, plans to include the feature in all of its GPRS and WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiplex Access) handsets from 2005.
The company expects push-to-talk to be a standard feature of mobile phones similar to text messaging in the near future, said Tapio Heikkilä, director of business development at Nokia's network division
Under the deal, announced at the 3GSM World Congress Conference in Cannes, Nokia will provide Samsung with its push-to-talk technology as well as interoperability testing.
Nokia's technology is based on an open specification that will provide a smooth migration path to a push-to-talk standard expected to be approved in August by the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) standards body.
More than 30 operators from around the world are already testing its technology.
John Blau writes for IDG News Service