Verizon Wireless unveiled its plans to offer more advanced walkie-talkie functions on its handsets that will put it in better position to better compete with Sprint Nextel Corp.

The new feature in Verizon's handsets will allow users to chat with many people at the same time by pushing a button.

Verizon's new strategy will allow it to attract more of Sprint's clients with the walkie-talkie service and lure them to sign for long term contracts.

Sprint Nextel lost more than one million contract subscribers last year following complaints about its customer service and dropped calls.

Shares for Verizon communications Inc., co-owner of Verizon Wireless declined by 3 cents to $37.76 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading while Sprint shares tumbled by 4 cents to $6.64.

Verizon Wireless had 66 million subscribers by the end of last year increasing its revenue to $43.9 billion while Sprint's sales dropped by 2.1 percent to $40.1 billion in the same period.

There is no clear date when the new walkie-talkie service will be available to the market.

Verizon will use voice-over Internet technology for the walkie-talkie function, a plan similar to what Sprint will use with the feature it's developing with Qualcomm Inc.

Sprint's stock had declined by 25 percent since Feb. 27.

Currently Verizon offers a push-to-talk feature which uses the old technology.