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Is the Icom IP100H Radio Worth the Price?

If you are shopping for a small and low powered radio such as the Motorola CLS or CLP series or the Kenwood TK-3230 or PKT-23, you may stumble upon the Icom IP100H and think it's perfect for your application - perfect, that is, until you notice the advertised price. After all, a retail price for $500 MSRP is nothing to sneeze at, even if the radio is rated IPX7 sn- er, waterproof.

Sure, compared to the Motorola and Kenwood radios of its size and wattage, the little IP100H sure seems to be higher priced, but is it? How much does it really cost? When adding it all up in a real world comparison, you may be surprised.

For starters, let's compare the price of each radio mentioned. The Motorola CLS1110, CLS1410 and CLP1010 all sell for under $200 each. The CLP1040 is under $225 and the most expensive in the series, the CLP1060 with Bluetooth, prices out at about a hundred dollars more, averaging out across the market at $330-$350. The Kenwood TK-3230 comes in below $170 and the ultra-compact PKT-23 is under $150. Of course, at first glance these are all far less than the $500 manufacturer suggested retail price of the Icom IP100H. However, there are three very important factors to consider that change the cost equation, and all of them are potential equalizers.

First, the current advertised price of the IP100H is the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price or MSRP, not the actual sale price. Icom requires dealers to advertise only the MSRP of their digital IP radio products. Contact us for our actual sale price of the IP100H radio and IP1000C controller.

Second, the radios in this comparison may all look and act the same, but we're really not comparing apples to apples. The Motorola and Kenwood models are all analog radios. The Icom IP100H is a digital transceiver. Digital radios operate quite differently than analog devices, and therefore offer enhanced features that most analog radios, particularly those on the low-end, don't have. The IP100H offers private, secure communications, digital quality audio, full duplex operation, and text messaging. Some of these features are only found on digital two way radios, and such radios typically cost hundreds, sometimes thousands more than the analog models.

Also, the Motorola and Kenwood analog radios in this comparison have a limited range. The IP100H is an IP radio that connects to an existing computer network, which allows it virtually unlimited range within your business operations! Range is limited only by the extent of your network, and can be extended as your network grows. For a more in-depth explanation of its range, capabilities and features, read Radios over WiFi! Introducing Icom's IP100H IP Radios.

Third, business radios operating on business frequencies require these frequencies to be licensed. The cost of licensing depends on the number of frequencies assigned, but at the minimum, the cost of a license for one itinerate business frequency is currently about $400. For a business radio with four active channels on four separate frequencies, that gets pricey quick.

However, the Icom IP100H has one more advantage over the analog Motorola and Kenwood radios. It is license free. Repeat, no FCC license is required to operate the IP100H radio. You can set them up and use them right out of the box without a license to transmit. That alone is worth the initial cost of investment.

The IP100H radio does require the IP1000C controller to operate, so the total investment is not limited to the radios alone. However that cost can be offset by the costs normally incurred from licensing frequencies for the analog radios in this comparison, and if you need to purchase a repeater to extend the range of those Motorolas or Kenwoods, choosing the Icom IP radio system may actually put you ahead of the game.

In spite of its initial advertised price, could the IP100H Advanced IP Radio System actually be a more cost effective solution for your business or operation than the standard small and low priced analog business radios? A case can certainly be made for it. There is one way to find out. Contact us online or give us a call at 1-800-584-1445 and tell us what you need. We'll compare them all to find the best solution for you.

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