T-Mobile next month is launching a Mission Critical Push-to-Talk (MCPTT) service aimed at first responders, government workers and other field employees.

The operator is introducing this 5G PTT service to take on AT&T’s FirstNet PTT service and similar offerings from Verizon. T-Mobile is integrating the service with Motorola Solutions’ Critical Connect system, so that first responders can use it with rugged devices in the field. The service can also be used on smartphones and tablets via an app.

T-Mobile highlighted that the new 5G PTT system only takes an afternoon to create a few hundred user profiles rather than a few days.

T-Mobile said that MCPTT offers features such as location sharing, as well as video streaming, so that users can provide real-time updates from the field. The operator said Always-on Wireless Priority Service provides priority connection for push-to-talk and data traffic nationwide on the T-Mobile network. The MCPTT system interoperates with land mobile radio (LMR) systems, extending push-to-talk capabilities to users without radios or that travel outside LMR coverage areas. 

“PTT is still a major use case today,” Roy Chua, principal at AvidThink told us in an email. “Anywhere that quick, reliable communication is needed. The industries are the same as when Nextel launched: construction, utilities, transportation hubs and logistics, warehouses, hospitality, emergency services, even universities with sprawling campuses. Even with private 5G, I’ve seen PTT as a key workload and application for private 5G/CRBS deployments.”

The new service may give T-Mobile some more presence in the public sector space. AT&T with FirstNet and Verizon Frontline are generally seen as the major competitors in the public sector right now.

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