Two Way Radio Misunderstandings

Two Way Radio Misunderstandings

We are here to debunk the 6 most common two way radio misunderstandings so you can make a more informed decision on the use of two way radios within your organisation…

two way radio

  • “Two way radios are expensive”

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about two way radios, that they are expensive. Whilst two way radios do involve an initial one-off cost, and with the exception of OFCOM licence fees (read our blog on OFCOM Radio Licence Fees here) there are no additional running costs or hidden fees after this. This makes two way radios a cheaper long term option compared to mobile phones for example, which require contracts. 

The initial costs of the two way radio also can vary greatly depending on the specification and additional features your organization requires. The benefit of this is you only need to pay for what you need and what will benefit your company. 

  • “OFCOM licences are hard to obtain and expensive” 

You may be thinking “but how much are OFCOM radio licence fees?!”. Generally, these only cost £75 for 5 years, far cheaper than the mobile phone alternatives. In addition to this, when you work with Wall to Wall Communications we can assist you in obtaining and managing OFCOM radio licences on your behalf, making sure you only pay for what you absolutely need. 

  • “Two way radios are bulky”

This is a myth that is likely based on some of the larger earlier models of two way radios. If you think back to the 90’s radios you are probably picturing large, heavy and bulky black machines. However, this was 20 years ago, and two way radios have evolved dramatically since then. Radios can even be smaller, more compact and lightweight than mobile phones.

  • “Two way radios have poor signal and coverage”

Two way radios are not just limited to a small signal range like the radios you might have played with as kids. Two way radio can have a wide area of coverage with the help of leaky feeders, antennas and repeaters. There is not a one-size-fits all approach, but it is dependent on your environment e.g. underground or a built up city and the level of coverage you require. You can read our blog on ‘How To Boost Your Two Way Radio Signal’ for more information here. 

  • “Two way radios don’t offer any other features apart from voice communication”

This one is definitely false! Two way radios can now be almost completely customised to your environment and industry with more ways to connect than just voice communication. Additional features can include Noise Cancelling, Man Down, Lone Worker, GPS tracking, Manager Override Function, Integrated Task Management Systems, Text Messaging, Caller ID, Panic/Emergency Call Functions and Automated Radio Alarm.

You can read our blog post ‘Make Your Radio Right For Your Business’ to learn about some of the additional features you can include with your two way radios here.

  • “Two way radios are just for large organisations”

It is true that many, if not most of all large organizations rely on two way radios to enhance communication, improve efficiency and increase security. However, the use of two way radios are not exclusive to larger companies. Two way radios can have unlimited usage, whether you only need 2 radios or up to 1000 radios. Smaller businesses that can benefit from two way radios include restaurants, offices and retail stores. 


OFCOM Radio Licence Fees

OFCOM Radio Licence Fees

What is an OFCOM radio licence?

An OFCOM licence is something that two way radio users must obtain. OFCOM is the UK’s official communication regulator, operating under several Acts of Parliament including the Communications Act 2003. OFCOM is responsible for managing the civilian use of the radio spectrum, ensuring that the use of radio waves is fairly distributed and not overwhelmed. Any business or individual that uses a two-way radio must have an OFCOM radio licence in order to legally operate

There is however one exception. If you are using a licence-free radio then you do not need an OFCOM licence…

walkie talkie hire in london

Licence-free Radios

Licence-free radios are one of the few exceptions to needing a radio licence. These are radios that can be bought and instantly used. They are the kind of radios you can find in stores off the shelf. Licence-free radios also have a small range and a relatively low output of 0.5 watts, meaning they are unlikely to interfere with the UK’s main radio waves. It is because of this that these radios do not encounter OFCOM radio licence fees. 

Contributing to their overall low price and non-existent OFCOM radio licence fees is their simple design and easy-to-use features. This makes them ideal for personal use where mobile signal is not available such as at festivals, leisure parks, when hiking or skiing.

Benefits of licence-free radios:

  • No OFCOM radio licence fees
  • Easy to use
  • Low initial cost
  • Professional use within a small range
  • Personal use

Licenced Radios + OFCOM licence fees

Licenced radios on the other hand do encounter OFCOM licence fees and higher initial costs. However, they are more powerful and do come with more radio features. Licenced radios have a higher power output of up to 5 watts. This provides the user with increased range and signal coverage, and as a result, requires its own OFCOM radio licence with accompanying OFCOM radio licence fees. Licenced radios are required if your business needs a dedicated and uninterrupted frequency and further range.

Benefits of licenced radios:

  • Clear audio quality
  • Wider radio signal range
  • More reliable radio signal
  • Uninterrupted radio frequency
  • Professional use
  • Dial up individual radio users
  • More secure conversation
  • Clear audio quality

leaky feeder


OFCOM Radio Licence Fees

There are several types of OFCOM licences available, and they all come with their own OFCOM licence fees. Each radio licence offers different signal ranges and either a shared or a dedicated radio frequency. Both of these factors affect the OFCOM radio licence fees.

  • £75+ for 5 years in OFCOM radio licence fees: Ranging from £75+ in OFCOM radio licence fees you can buy a radio licence that will cover you for 5 or more years. For this price you can obtain one of two licences…
    1. Simple UK Light: Every year you will share access with other users to a number of radio frequencies and tones. Without the need for a base station, you will be able to communicate with other users throughout the UK.
  • Simple Site UK: This is also another relatively low cost OFCOM radio licence fee. The Simple Site UK will allow you to have access to a radio signal over a 3km radius from the base station or paging system. If your business operates in a static position, this is the ideal OFCOM licence for you.
  • £75-£1480 per year  in OFCOM radio licence fees: For between £75 and £1480 in OFCOM radio licence fees per year you can buy a Technically Assigned (Shared and Exclusive) radio licence. Your business will have a dedicated frequency, un-interrupted by other radio users. You will have sole use of the radio frequency within an allotted area, with the use of a repeater. However, this can only be used up to 50% of the time. If you require the use of the radio signal more than 50% of the time, you will encounter increased OFCOM licence fees.
  • £75-£9900 in OFCOM radio licence fees: Area Defined is an OFCOM licence fee that ranges greatly, as it can be completely tailored to your business requirements. This means you will never have to pay for what you don’t use or don’t want.
What Can Wall to Wall Do For Your Business

What Can Wall to Wall Do For Your Business

At Wall to Wall Communications we have over 40 years experience in bringing you the latest communications technology. So what do we do exactly?

Two Way Radio Suppliers

At Wall to Wall we are proud providers of two way radios across many industries. These include; Construction, Events, Security, Hospitality Leisure, Auction Houses, Transportation, Retailers, Film Production, Banks, Hospitals and much more. Our most recent case study includes the Bank Underground Station where we are providing a multi channel Hytera System that is connected with leaky feeder cables to allow signal to penetrate underground. You can read more about this case study here. In addition to this, we also provide two way radios to local charities such as the Croydon Legacy Youth Zone. For this charity we have provided 16 ICOM 4002 radios to enable staff to keep the premises safe, secure and working efficiently for the youth of London to enjoy. 

radio rentals

Types of Two Way Radios

To enable us to provide two way radios across all industries, at Wall to Wall we have a wide selection of radio rentals. These include Digital Radios, Analogue Radios, ATEX Radios and more recently POC Radios. Whatever your budget and needs may be, we have the perfect radio for you. Do you need help finding the right one? You can read our blog post here which outlines the benefits of each, or you can contact us on 0208 770 1007, email us on or fill out the form below for personalised advice.


Specialised Two Way Radios

Two way radios can be modified to provide additional features beyond just voice messages, to make them a crucial tool in the running of your business. Not only do radios provide communication, but they enhance efficiency, safety and security. Specialised features that can be installed on your radio include noise cancelling, discrete communication, man down, lone worker, GPS tracking (Trackitt), manager override function, integrated task management systems, text messaging, caller ID, emergency call functions and automated radio alarms. For more information on this, you can read our blog ‘Make Your Radio Right For Your Business’ here. Two way radios can also be designed to withstand the environment which they will be exposed to. For example if your radio will be used in construction they can be dust-proof. Alternatively, if your radios will be used for outdoor security they can be waterproof. Whatever your needs are, Wall to Wall can provide you with a communication solution.

Additional Services and Products

Whilst we are two way radio specialists, this is not all we provide. In addition to walkie talkies, we are now providers of body cameras which are particularly useful for customer-facing businesses. If you have any questions about body cameras, you can read our FAQ blog post here. In addition to two way radios, we also provide supporting technology such as leaky feeders, Distributed Antenna Systems and Radio Frequency Over Fibre. We even provide help with applying for an OFCOM licence and training staff on the use of two way radios!

trackitt automated radio alarm

Radio Repairs and Maintenance

Once we have provided you with your two way radios and communication system, the support does not stop there. With a team of in-house experts we are ready to repair your radios and keep them functioning at their very best. If your radios need to be taken off-site for maintenance then we will provide temporary radio hire so the running of your business is not interrupted. You can read our blog ‘Wall to Wall Going the Extra Mile’ to find out more.

OFCOM Licence: All You Need to Know

OFCOM Licence: All You Need to Know

There are two types of two way radios, licenced and licence-free radios. For licenced radios it is required by law to obtain an radio licence from OFCOM.

Licence-free radios

Licence-free radios are a cheaper alternative to licenced radios. They can be bought and used straight away without obtaining a licence from OFCOM. This is because they have a relatively low power output of 0.5 watts, and only have a small range. This makes them the perfect option if your business is functioning in a small building e.g. retail, construction, smaller schools or any other site where minimal coverage is required within close range. Licence-free radios are also ideal for personal use such as when skiing, hiking or at a leisure park where mobile signal is not available. Their benefits include:

  • Low cost
  • Simple to use
  • Personal use
  • Professional use within a small range

Licenced radios

OFCOM licence



Licenced radios are the slightly more costly alternative as they are designed to have a higher power output of up to 5 watts, offer increased coverage and range. If your business is functioning over a wider area or on a larger site a licenced radio with the addition of an OFCOM licence is required. This will allow your site access to dedicated frequencies and additional features. The benefits of a licenced radio include:

  • Increased security
  • Specific to your site
  • Clear audio quality
  • Conversation  more secure
  • Send text messages
  • Group calls
  • Dial  up individual users
  • Wider and longer range
  • Dedicated frequencies
  • Professional use
  • More features

Types of OFCOM licence

When it comes to OFCOM licences it is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Depending on your needs, your business will require different OFCOM licences. These can range from £75 for 5 years, all the way up to £9900 per year, so it is important to find one that meets your criteria. So what OFCOM licences are they, and how do you choose the right one?

  • Simple UK Light- This is one of the most affordable OFCOM licences costing £75+ for 5 years. Every holder of a Simple UK Light licence will share access to a number of radio tones and frequencies. This will allow for communication across the UK without the use of a base station. This licence is ideal for companies who function throughout the country and need a wide coverage. 
  • Simple Site UK- Also costing a relatively low £75+ for 5 years, the Simple Site UK licence will allow for radio use within a 3km radius of the base station or paging system. This is the perfect license if your business functions at a static location. 
  • Technically Assigned (Shared and Exclusive)- This OFCOM licence can range from £75-£1480 per year and frequency. This licence will allow your company to use a designated frequency within an allotted area with the use of a repeater. The shared licence will allow for a frequency to be used up to 50% of the time, which the exclusive licence is more expensive but can be used more than 50% of the time. 
  • Area Defined- This OFCOM licence varies from £75-£9900 depending on the size of the area covered. This licence can cover radio frequency up to 50km2 and can be tailored to your needs. This means your business pays for what it needs and only what it needs.

At Wall to Wall we provide you and your business with assistance and advice on which OFCOM licence would best suit your needs. We also offer assistance obtaining and managing your licence after purchase. Read more about how Wall to Wall Communications can help you with your OFCOM licence application on our blog ‘Wall to Wall Going the Extra Mile’.

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