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Chicomm Blog

3 Things to Know About ‘Cheap’ Two-Way Radios

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray on Friday, May 10, 2019

3-things-to-know-about-cheap-two_way_radios-1There are many two-way radios available in the commercial market, and some may sound more attractive than others when it comes to price and performance. Recent court rulings have  underscored the need to clear the air when it comes to evaluating whether “cheap” two-way radios are worth it. Here are three things you should know.

1. Know the origins

When considering investing in two-way radio commercial technology, it’s important to do your homework. Case in point, some two-way radios manufactured by Hytera have been banned, and Hytera has been issued a cease-and-desist order by the International Trade Commission as a result of the company’s infringement of Motorola Solutions patents.

Motorola Solutions also recently prevailed against Hytera in the Regional Courts of Mannheim and Düsseldorf in Germany in similar patent infringement cases. Other patent infringement, copyright infringement and trade secret theft lawsuits against Hytera in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Federal Court of Australia are ongoing.

For commercial purchasers, being aware of such lawsuits and the source of propriety technology is essential in avoiding inferior products or products that may not be able to be serviced or replaced.

2. Compare apples to apples

It’s also important to know that Hytera and other foreign manufacturers are always trying to enter the US market place at a lower price point. For example, Chinese imports like BaoFang may claim to offer the same features and specifications of higher-quality brands, but in actuality their products do not provide the same functionality. These low-cost two-way radios may do the trick for consumer use or to just facilitate conversations from point A to point B, but they do not have the feature sets needed in most commercial environments. And, their lacking technology can jeopardize performance, productivity and user safety.

Commercial purchasers should have a clear understanding of features and specs and know that they’re truly getting the functionality they need to do business.

3. Be aware of type acceptance

Finally, it’s important to be aware that all emitting communications devices must be type-accepted by the FCC to ensure that the radiation they emit does not cause harmful interference with other communications, especially public safety. Some discounted two-way radios may be type-accepted by the FCC for personal, consumer use, but are likely not FCC approved for commercial purposes.

To safeguard channels and frequencies, FCC enforcement agencies regulate airways and respond to cases of signal interference. If in violation, operation of non-accepted devices can be shut down and users can face hefty FCC fines. Learn more here about what you need to know about FCC rules.

Based on this, for commercial purchasers, the benefits of investing in FCC-approved technology far outweigh any initial savings of inferior products. In the cases of Hytera and Baofang, both offerings of “cheap” two-ways radios are worrisome for different reasons. One is due to stolen technology and the other is due to knock-off quality that will make the radios more expensive when it comes to service and replacement.

Two-way radios from quality two-way radio service providers can be a critical tool for commercial operations. But businesses should be aware of the true cost of potential savings. An awareness of current litigation, a clear understanding of feature sets and specs, and knowledge of whether devices are FCC type-accepted can go far in ensuring the technology you select pays off in the long run. As in many areas in life, you get what you pay for.

For assistance in investing in the right technology for your commercial business, contact us.