A report in Interfax suggests that Guangdong Unicom, which is a subsidiary of China Unicom, may officially launch Push-to-Talk (PTT) services at the end of May, 2004.
China Unicom and China Mobile have been researching the potential of PTT wireless services, which enable mobile phones to form a connection without the necessity of a relay through a mobile network, making the service both less expensive than current mobile options and also requiring less electricity.
Cheng Xiao, an official from Guangdong Unicom's General Business Office, told Interfax in an interview: "Of all the subsidiaries under both China Unicom and China Mobile, I think Guangdong Unicom will be the first operator domestically to provide PTT service. We will soon finish the public tendering we initiated this March to buy PTT solutions." Although Guangdong Unicom's tendering has attracted vendors such as Qualcomm, Vas Telecom Technology and Motorola, no results have yet been released.
One obstacle in the way of PTT services in China is the issue of interoperability between different PTT enabled mobile phones, as different brands could not be compatible, even if on the same network. The Open Mobile Alliance is planning to release unified technology standards for PTT services worldwide, but these have yet to be implemented and, until such time interoperability will continue to be a problem.