Two-way radios have been used for over 50 years as a reliable way to communicate with your team. While two-way radios are still used as the main method of communication, we’re starting to see a move towards push to talk cell phones, also called push to talk over cellular or PoC.

According to Allied Market Research, the use of push to talk over cellular is expected to grow 9.4% from 2020 to 2027.

With the move towards PTT cell phones, what does this mean for the future of two-way radio?

We still see a lot of public safety professionals still using two-way radios to communicate now and for many years to come. The addition of PTT cell phones gives people alternatives on how they want to communicate with their team.

In this article, we’ll be exploring the advantages of using a push-to-talk cell phone over a two-way radio. Here are the top 7 benefits of using push to talk phones,

  1. Push to Talk Apps
  2. Everything on One Device
  3. Improve Safety
  4. Communicate from Anywhere
  5. Clear Audio
  6. Extra Accessories
  7. Reduce Costs

What is a push to talk cell phone?

Cell phones with push to talk (PTT) is a subscriber-based option that uses cellular data and Wi-Fi networks to give you instant communication with a push of a button. Popular push to talk over cellular devices include models from Kyocera and Sonim to name a few.

Push to Talk Apps

Downloading push to talk apps enable you to use push-to-talk voice messaging to talk with your team on your Android or IOS device. Zello and Voxer are among the many push-to-talk subscription-based apps available for download on your PoC.

The leading push-to-talk walkie-talkie app, Zello, lets you record messages to playback later, track locations, and send emergency alerts. Zello is available for personal, business, and enterprise use with varying pricing options.


Everything on One Device

PTT cell phones have everything from the internet, text messaging, calling, email, and more that you wouldn’t have access to on a two-way radio. You can now carry around one device instead of multiple.

Improve Safety

Safety is always a team’s number one priority. PoC cell phones are equipped with GPS tracking that tells you where your team members are located. This is especially important to have in case of emergencies and gives everyone on your team peace of mind that they’ll be found quickly if anything were to happen.

The functionality of a push-to-talk allows for hands-free communication, keeping your team less distracted and more focused on tasks. This hands-free option is great for operating heavy machinery and is designed to be used when wearing gloves.

Using PTT lets you talk in real-time and if changes are happening, your team members are notified quicker. This can improve the overall safety of operations and help you get support in real-time.


Communicate from Anywhere

With two-way radios, you only have a certain distance you can go before communication starts to become limited. With PoC cell phones, you can communicate anywhere there’s a cellular service or WIFI network. This means you can talk instantly with someone on your team from an entirely different state or country if needed.


Clear Audio

Push-to-talk cell phones have exceptional sound quality and noise-canceling features that let you hear clearly in any environment you may be in. This guarantees you don’t miss any important audio transmissions and you’ll be heard if  you’re in a loud area.


Extra Accessories

If PTT Cell Phones are used by public safety professionals, additional accessories like speaker microphones, earpieces, and batteries, which they rely on to communicate, are still available. These accessories just like on a traditional two-way radio help improve communication and functionality.

These additional accessories attach to your PTT cell phone giving you more control over how you communicate, just like how you would on a two-way radio.

If your job requires you to be in a car, in-vehicle kits and charging cradles, are available for certain cell phone models. In-vehicle car kits improve driver safety by keeping you hands-free and still being able to communicate. These car kits mount on your dash giving you charging capabilities, remote PTT with mic, and an external speaker that broadcasts your audio, all to keep your focus on the road.


Reduce Costs

Businesses may not be able to afford the costs associated with two-way radios. Radios are typically a hefty investment due to programming, features, FCC licensing, and encryption which can be upwards to $5,000.

PTT Cell phones are coupled alongside monthly fees including contracts and push to talk application fees that can add up to about $1,000 depending on type of device and contracts. A PoC overall may be a cheaper investment for businesses that don’t have enough resources to buy a two-way radio for their entire team.


What are the advantages of using two-way radios compared to PTT cell phones?

Sometimes two-way radios are a better option than PTT over cellular device. Most times two-way radios are more durable than a cell phone. This is important to consider if you’re working in rough environments.

Two-way radios are more reliable in the event of a natural disaster or event where a large influx of 911 calls occur. This is because radios have a dedicated network thanks to FirstNet. Unlike cell phones, two-way radios don’t depend on cell towers, which typically go down after a natural disaster and could be out for days at a time.

Second, you may notice two-way radios have a better battery life but may need to be replaced more often than a cell phone battery.

Two-way radios are encrypted which is necessary to block civilians from listening in on important police, CIA, and FBI radio conversations. Many police forces will continue to use two-way radios for this reason alone.

Lastly, two-way radios don’t have a monthly contract, unlike your push to talk cell phone. PTT cell phones will have a monthly contract with your network provider and if you use a PTT app like Zello, there is a monthly fee per device.


What's Next?

Businesses are now transitioning to a PTT over cellular option for their team communications instead of a two-way radio. PTT cell phones are a more affordable option for construction, businesses, manufacturing, and infrastructure. Cell phones help improve safety by instantly communicating with the PTT to your supervisors and team members. Another plus to cell phones is having everything on one device including email, text messaging, calling, and apps.

Two-way radios will remain being used by law enforcement, fire departments, and large government agencies as their main form of communication. This is because of their dedicated network, durability during natural disasters, and encryption keys to keep eavesdroppers out of important conversation.

First Source Wireless offers a PTT over cellular cell phone that helps enhance team communication. Our 4G LTE Android cell phone is an affordable option for push-to-talk. Shop more specifications now or contact our radio specialist for more information.


TAYLOR THOMAS is a Marketing Manager at First Source Wireless. With her experience in critical communications, she helped public safety professionals enhance their communication through the help of two-way radios and headsets.

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