Monday, November 28, 2011

Confused about P25 Phase 1 and Phase II?

Can't say we are not surprised that you may have some difficulty in understanding all the different P25 offerings.  It takes a cross between an engineer and a lawyer to understand what P25 is at all!  Suffice it to say that the majority of P25 radios being sold today are "standard" or non-trunking P25 models.  Larger system users will pay the extra dollars for "trunking" capabilities (rarely required by any but VERY large users.

From a lay person's perspective, P25 is the ONLY federally approved communications standard with the single exception of LTE (a subject within itself).  The bottom line is if you want federal grant money for public safety communications, the technology of choice is P25 - PERIOD! (and "Yes" we know all about  the "exceptions).  For now, our objective is to help you decide which of the P25 "standards" is best for you.  Before proceeding further, I would suggest an excellent reference source by Daniels Electronics for the serious reader.

For now, let us just say that a non-trunking P25 radio can be purchased for under a thousand dollars.  A good trunking radio can be purchased for under $1,500 IF you are OK with Phase 1 technology.

However, BK/Relm,  EF Johnson, Harris, Motorola, and Tait are rapidly encouraging major users to go with Phase 2 upgrade capability for several reasons.  For starters, the low tier competitors don't have Phase 2 since the final standards have not been announced, but you could say with some certainty that when that standard is finalized, it will be patterned after whatever platform is used by Motorola, and it is entirely possible that many models of Motorola P25 radios will NOT be upgradeable to Phase II.  And, by the way, did we mention that going price for a P25 Phase II trunking radio will typically be MORE than two thousand dollars each, (actually closer to three thousand dollars) and did we mention that there is a Phase 3? (Just thought you might like to know).

Having said all that, there are several manufacturers offering a P25 Phase I trunking radio for under $2,000 that WILL be upgradeable to Phase II.  And who might that be?  For the answer to that question just give us a call at 800.389.2611 or email  You'll be glad you did! In the meantime, if you are considering the purchase of MotoTRBO or ASTRO P25 radios, click here for some interesting observations.