4G Radios vs Walkie Talkies: Which is the better option? 

4GRadios vs Walkie Talkies: Which is the better option?

As technology has progressed, walkie-talkies, or two-way radios as they’re commonly known, have remained a reliable way to stay connected. Radio communication dates back to the late 19th century when Morse code messages were first transmitted over the airwaves. Then, in the early 20th century, the military developed the first “walkie-talkie,” marking the birth of two-way radio tech. Fast forward to today, and it’s still going strong, serving people for nearly a century. 

But in recent times, we’ve seen a merging of two-way radio and mobile technology, giving us what we now call 4G radios. 

So, what’s a 4G Radio?  

Well, traditional two-way radios work by using radio frequencies to send and receive messages. On the other hand, 4G radios, also known as Push to Talk Over Cellular (PTTOC) devices, make use of both Wi-Fi and mobile networks. These radios have smart SIM cards that constantly search for the best signal, ensuring smooth communication. 

How to set up 4G radios 

When it comes to setting up 4G radios, it depends on the device. Some come with screens, and you can choose whether to lock down the smartphone functions or grant full Android access. You can also opt for a 12-month data subscription. 

Mobile Apps: 

Here’s a neat feature: some 4G radio manufacturers offer mobile apps. These apps allow you to communicate using your smartphone, which can be handy for businesses with employees working in different places. It’s all about quick communication across various devices and platforms. 


While many 4G radios resemble the classic two-way radios, featuring the essential Push-to-Talk (PTT) button, others have a more modern look, akin to Android devices. They’re tough and durable, built to withstand the elements. 

Walkie Talkies:

Walkie Talkies, also known as two-way radios, are devices that rely on radio frequencies for communication. They are often used in scenarios where direct, point-to-point communication is necessary, and mobile networks may be unreliable or unavailable.

No License Needed:

When it comes to Walkie Talkies, there are typically two categories: license-free and licensed radios.

  • License-Free Radios: These are often referred to as “walkie-talkies,” and they operate on open-access PMR446 frequencies. One of their key advantages is that they don’t require a specific license to operate. They are suitable for casual or short-range communication, making them convenient for activities like hiking, camping, or event coordination. However, they may have limitations on range and can be susceptible to interference from other users on the same frequency.

  • Licensed Radios: For professional or business users who require more range and interference-free communication, licensed two-way radios are the preferred choice. They require an Ofcom (or equivalent regulatory authority in other countries) license, which grants users their dedicated frequency. These licenses often last for five years and offer greater control over your communication channel. There is no limit to the number of radios you can own under one license, making them suitable for businesses with larger teams or complex communication needs.

Choosing the Right One:

The decision between these two devices primarily hinges on where and how you intend to use them.

  • Walkie Talkies are ideal for situations where you’re operating in remote or off-grid locations. They are not reliant on mobile networks, making them a dependable choice when traditional forms of communication might not be available. In areas with poor mobile service, such as remote construction sites or during outdoor adventures, these two way radios provide a solid means of communication.

  • On the other hand, 4G Radios are an excellent choice when you have access to mobile network data. They leverage the power of 4G connectivity to enable efficient and wide-ranging communication. These radios are particularly beneficial in urban areas, during events, or for business operations that rely on real-time data and connectivity.

While two way radios excel in remote areas and don’t require licenses (in the case of license-free radios), 4G Radios leverage mobile network technology for efficient communication, making them a preferred choice in areas with reliable 4G coverage.

Where to Get Walkie Talkie Radio’s in the UK 

At Cartel we’ve got traditional two-way radios available for purchase or rent. Our team of experts is here to help you find the best solution for your needs. Just give us a call or shoot us an email, and we’ll chat about what suits you best. 


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