Iridium Satellite last week announced it plans to offer push-to-talk service to the Department of Defense by the end of the year and to other customers during 2006.

Iridium’s P2T solution is designed to let hundreds of users worldwide join a talk group secured by end-to-end encryption. Iridium users wanting to use the P2T service must upgrade their 9505 and 9505A phones with new software and a push-to-talk ancillary device.

"This Iridium service will offer the virtual equivalent of repeater stations in space,” Greg Ewert, executive vice president, Iridium Satellite, said in a prepared statement. “The need to position a repeater station on a mountaintop or a tall--and vulnerable--structure will no longer exist."