AT&T has announced new features to its enhanced push-to-talk service that are designed to provide improved interoperability with enterprises’ existing LMR and dispatch systems, as well as a broader portfolio of devices and accessories that are geared for myriad use cases, according to an official for the carrier.

Igor Glubochansky, AT&T’s executive director of advanced mobility solutions, said that the carrier’s Dynamic Traffic Management offering—providing different levels of prioritized traffic to public-safety and non-public-safety users of LTE services—has generated “a lot of activity and excitement” in the industry that has sought greater quality-of-service assurances from cellular push-to-talk services.

At IWCE 2016, AT&T demonstrated that its enhanced push-to-talk service is interoperable with console vendors such as Avtec and Zetron using a P25 CSSI gateway, Glubochansky said. Announced last year, the offering is now commercially available, he said.

“Now, you have a bit of priority, but you still want to run your push to talk in parallel with your two-way radio system—that’s very common,” Glubochansky said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “We now have launched IP-based interoperability between push to talk and two-way-radio dispatch systems.

“Finally, this is commercially available, which is a big milestone. So, you can integrate push to talk without a donor phone or an on-premise solution.”

Glubochansky emphasized that AT&T officials do not perceive the company’s enhanced push-to-talk service as a replacement for traditional LMR push-to-talk voice communications used in mission-critical environments such as public-safety first responders at an incident scene.

But AT&T’s enhanced push-to-talk offering can be useful in several other scenarios, especially when it is bundled with the carrier’s Dynamic Traffic Management offering—available at a $5 per month discount in this scenario—to ensure greater reliability, Glubochansky said.

“That allows customers to offload some users out of LMR into [cellular] push to talk. Maybe they do it to reduce some of the congestion or other issues they have with LMR,” he said. “Maybe they do it to save money, because they don’t have to purchase new two-way-radio devices—or they can purchase fewer.

“They will still want to keep [LMR] for first responders, but for secondary responders and others—for instance, off-duty personnel—it may be better to use [cellular] push to talk.”