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 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.
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.
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…
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
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
Dial up individual radio users
More secure conversation
Clear audio quality
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…
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.
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 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:
Simple to use
Professional use within a small range
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:
Specific to your site
Clear audio quality
Conversation more secure
Send text messages
Dial up individual users
Wider and longer range
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’.
The Bank Underground Station is a vital station that connects people from all across London. As part of the Central, Northern and Waterloo & City lines, the smooth and safe running of this station is vital. Situated in fare zone 1, the Bank Underground Station is one of the busiest stations in the London Underground Network, and therefore the smooth running of this station is extremely important.
Wall to Wall Communication were asked to provide this station with a new communication system in order to improve the connectivity between workers, and we were up for the challenge! No matter the project, Wall to Wall will provide your business with a tailored system design and installation to meet your specific needs, in the most cost effective way. Keep reading to find out how we provided a personalised communication system at the Bank Underground Station…
With the team at the Bank Underground Station working both above ground and below ground, one of the biggest challenges Wall to Wall faced was providing a communication system that could penetrate the layers of concrete between the workers whilst still providing clear and reliable communication. Multiple channels were also required to allow several different workers to be communicating simultaneously without interrupting each other. In addition to this, the workers also required a reliable radio system that didn’t falter, even during periods of maximum capacity to guarantee business was not interrupted.
The solution provided to the Bank Underground Station was the installation of a multi channel Hytera System, connected with leaky feeder cables. Wall to Wall has chosen to provide the Bank Underground Station with Hytera PD605 radios with the addition of telephone connectivity. Including telephone connectivity enhances the practicality of their two way radios by allowing the workers to also communicate with those who do not have a radio, expanding their network coverage. The multi channels were installed to allow for several different departments/workers to communicate simultaneously, whilst the leaky feeder brought about reliable connectivity despite the physical signal barriers.
You can read more about how Wall to Wall can provide coverage enhancement through the installation of repeaters, antennas and leaky feeders here.
The installation of the leaky feeder cable allows for seamless communication between workers below ground and above ground. This provided the tools for the teams to increase efficiency by saving time with fast and reliable communication.
The radios supplied also include noise cancelling abilities in the radio and via Peltor headsets to ensure communication is not interrupted by background noise.
Improved voice clarity also adds an additional feature that will guarantee messages are sent and received clearly.
Wall to Wall Communications has provided a similar multi-channel solution with a leaky feeder cable and integrated telephone connectivity to Tottenham Court Road Underground. You can read more about this case study here.
At Wall to Wall Communications we know that two way radio rental can be a game changing decision for most businesses. Whether you are a large multi site business with employees that travel the country, or a family run local business, radio rental can be a big step. Which radio is right for my business? How will I train my employees on two way radios? What happens if the radios need repairs? Do I need an OFCOM licence? All of these questions can be answered by a member of the Wall to Wall team who will provide you with a one-to-one consultation using their 40 years of experience in radio rentals.
With many businesses taking the step towards seamless communication and incorporating two way radio rentals into the day to day running, can you afford not to? Two way radios not only improve efficiency and daily task management, but improve the security and safety of workers and customers as well. At Wall to Wall we pride ourselves in going the extra mile to bring you stress-free radio rental so you can focus on your customers, whilst we take care of you.
At Wall to Wall Communications we know that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to two way radios for businesses. That is why we provide a consultation where we learn about your specific needs, and design a communication system to meet them in the most cost effective way.
OFCOM is the UK regulator of communication and is responsible for managing the use of the radio spectrum. Excluding licence free radios (low power 446 units) all radio rentals and radio users require an OFCOM licence. An OFCOM licence will be allocated for the use of certain frequency, stations and site addresses.
Different types of licence
Simple UK Light– This OFCOM licence costs £75+ for 5 years. This will allow your company to use communication speech messages without a base station across the UK. All users who have a Simple UK Light OFCOM licence will have shared access to a number of frequencies and tones.
Simple Site UK- This OFCOM licence also typically costs £75+ for 5 years. This licence is appropriate for two way radio users with a base station or paging system who function within 3km of that location.
Technically Assigned (Shared and Exclusive)– This OFCOM licence can range from £75 to £1480 per year and frequency. This will allow your company to have a frequency assigned to them within a specific area or for radio rental users using a repeater. If you chose a shared frequency your business can use it up to 50% of the time, and for exclusive licence holders the frequency can be used more than 50% of the time.
Area Defined– The cost of this licence ranges from £75 to £9900 per year and frequency depending on the area covered. This allows the use of a two way radio rentals up to 50KM2.
At Wall to Wall we will provide you with assistance and advice when applying for your OFCOM licence and managing your licence when you have obtained one. To take the guesswork out of the application process, call a member of our team on 020 8770 1007.
When introducing a new piece of equipment into a business it is important that all employees know how to use it safely and effectively in order to get the best results. That is why Wall to Wall provides training for all members of staff on their new communications system. We will teach your staff the best practices and ensure you are confident in using all of your new two way radios features.
Once your company experiences the benefits of two way radio rental, you won’t be able to do without them. That is why at Wall to Wall we don’t just provide radio rentals, but radio repairs and maintenance as well. Using our 40 years of experience, our in-house team can diagnose and repair your radios using the latest technology and equipment. We can provide reliable and effective repairs when your radios falter. In addition to this, Wall to Wall provides radio services to ensure they are working at optimum efficiency in terms of signal, sound and battery life.
At Wall to Wall we can also do on-site visits to make small adjustments and repairs quickly. If your radio needs to be taken back to the workshop to be repaired further, Wall to Wall will provide radio rental to make sure the running of your business is not interrupted.