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Entries » Blog » Why Is Anyone Still Using Two-Way Radios In The 21st Century?- Author Sean Fitzgerald

Why Is Anyone Still Using Two-Way Radios In The 21st Century?- Author Sean Fitzgerald

Created Mar 15 2016, 5:00 AM by Emily Zervos

I was in an internal review meeting recently where the presenter asked “If this meeting was taking place 10 or 12 years ago, what would we have predicted was the future of LMR?”. Personally, ten years ago, I would have said “what’s LMR?” but since then I’ve joined Motorola Solutions and I’m much better informed! Land Mobile Radio, otherwise known as PMR, two-way radio, Business Radio or simply walkie-talkies are the devices we’re used to seeing being carried by Police, Fire and Ambulance workers but that are also used in almost every public building or commercial space to allow workers to talk to each other remotely.

The reasoning behind the question was the introduction of other technologies that were touted as replacements for LMR: analogue and then GSM mobile ’phones, DECT ’phones and even VoIP (Voice Over IP). All of these technologies have been presented as better, newer, more advanced systems that would eradicate the need for LMR, but that hasn’t happened yet and I don’t think it is likely to happen any time soon.

You might ask why anyone would use eighty-year-old LMR technology when they can use their shiny new smart phone. Of course, in many cases, they wouldn’t but the core traditional benefits of two-way radio are still as true today as they were 10 or 20 years ago, and they are also being enhanced by the introduction of digital radios (like Motorola’s MOTOTRBO™ range) and integration with other systems and applications. The best tool for any task always depends on the user requirements and when it comes to business-, operations- and mission-critical communications between individuals or groups, you can’t beat LMR:

  • Instantaneous communication drives major improvements in worker productivity and safety. With a two-way radio, you press the talk button and start talking – there’s no need to wait for a dial tone, or to key in a long phone number, or wait for the connection to go through.
  • Different call types mean the message goes to all the people you want it to and not to others. You can make private calls to one individual, calls to a defined group of people (such as security or maintenance) or all-call to everyone with a radio. And caller ID means you can see who’s contacting you before you answer. With MOTOTRBO, managers can even stop a call someone else is making so they can make a higher priority call, for example in an emergency to call for a first aider.
  • Reliable availability so you can make calls when you need to. Everyone has experienced the dreaded “no signal” on their mobile: even in areas with great mobile phone coverage, there are always blackspots where you can’t make a call, or your call gets dropped. And it’s often in the basement or services areas exactly where you need to contact your workers. Two-way radios are typically higher powered than mobiles so suffer less from blackspots, but as you own the radio system you can design it to give total coverage in your environment – you’re not reliant on a third party provider who may have other priorities.
  • Manageable costs allow budgets to be set and stuck to. There are no call charges when you use your radios, so you can budget capex to purchase your system and enjoy minimal running costs. Or source from a hiring company if you want to operate an opex model with no upfront cost. You can even use a mixed model and purchase your core system then hire additional radios as and when needed.
  • Rugged, reliable devices offer higher reliability than “consumer-grade” phones. Motorola’s two-way radios are all designed to withstand the tough conditions encountered with every-day use. High and low temperatures, immersion in water, being dropped – Motorola supplies radios to withstand them all.
  • Advanced new functionality is building on traditional radio capability to bring value-add features like texting, job-ticket management and GPS tracking to further enhance worker effectiveness and safety.


I asked the question “why is anyone still using two-way radios?” but for business communications between individuals and workgroups, the question is really “why is anyone using other technologies?” (or even worse, not using any). The ability to reliably communicate instantaneously across your workforce enhances decision making, improves efficiency and increases safety.

For more information on how MOTOTRBO two-way radios can help improve your communications, watch this short video:

and to see the MOTOTRBO portfolio, download the brochure.


Sean Fitzgerald- Solutions Marketing Manager

  • ... and I didn’t even mention the MOTOTRBO™ Control Room Solutions that give advanced fleet control and dispatch functionalities. That means control room personnel can organise workers and tasks more efficiently, communicate better with teams in the field and make faster, sounder decisions when incidents happen. You can learn more at MOTOTRBO Control Room Solutions - Motorola Solutions EMEA.

  • As a communications professional and also an event manager I do wonder where some event and location managers get their information.  They have found PMR446 but have not worked out that there are different channels and privacy codes so frequently complain about poor coverage and interference.  The cost of LMR, with its additional range and the possibility of base stations and repeaters for larger sites seems to be completely overlooked.  my favourite comment from a customer when i have explained the options open to them is "I didn't know we could do that".  What ever happened to GSM "push to talk" ...

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