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New push-to-talk over cellular service launched

  • By: Farm Tender "Prime"
  • Nov 29, 2017

A new PTToC entrant has set its sights on a broad range of potential users Australia-wide.

There’s a new entrant in the Australian communications sector in the form of ToooAir, which has launched a cellular-based PTToC (push-to-talk over cellular) service with custom-made rugged transceivers.

The ToooAir platform is a PTToC VoIP two-way communications system utilising the Telstra NextG 850 MHz network as its carrier. It has most of the features you’d expect from commercial LMR but covers a wider area — from coast to coast across Australia, in fact, wherever there is cellular reception.

The men behind the company are Paul Werner (CEO), who has previously operated a large communications firm whose reach spanned significant parts of Africa, and Peter Langbart (general manager), a radio and electronics industry veteran with 35 years under his belt.

“The idea is not new; however, digital technology and higher data speed through the cellular networks (including LTE) have now made this technology a practical alternative to traditional systems,” said Langbart, adding that the system is not intended for the public safety mission-critical market but rather is well suited to the transportation, construction, security, hospitality, warehousing, light industry, agricultural and 4x4/caravan convoy sectors.

“Compared to traditional PMR/LMR, ToooAir’s primary benefit is its Australia-wide coverage, plus reception in most tunnels and improved in-building reception,” Langbart added. “With more than 7000 repeater sites across Australia, the network offers unsurpassed urban and rural coverage.”

“With GSM and WCDMA mobile networks, the data speed achievable with compression protocols have now made PTToC an attractive alternative to traditional PMR/LMR networks,” added Werner.

Map of mobile phone coverage across Australia

The two main components of the system are the TA-388 ruggedised transceiver and the ToooAir-PTT dispatch software. The TA-388 is a medium-sized handheld in a traditional two-way radio form factor, with a colour TFT LCD screen (1.44″, 128x128 pixels and 65k colours). A large, 5200 mAh battery (with drop-in charging) offers extended talk time and four user-programmable buttons can be set for instantaneous group or individual user selection. It provides one-to-one or one-to-many capabilities, with private calls also available. It also has a built-in LED flashlight.

The GUI dispatch software offers GPS tracking, geofencing, group reprogramming, device stun and text messaging. All voice and text messages are recorded by the system.

“While many systems on the market have relied on applications running on Android or iOS devices, the emergence of dedicated transceivers and platform servers is changing the communication landscape,” said Werner.

“Standard Android or iOS devices can be preoccupied with email, web browsing, Facebook and many other applications that can slow down the system and potentially affect the running of PTT communication apps,” he added. “The TA-388 is a dedicated device that does not suffer from those kinds of drawbacks.”

Picture - Map of mobile phone coverage across Australia