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Some cellular telephone networks offer a push-to-talk handset that allows walkie-talkie-like operation over the cellular network, without dialling a call each time. However, the cellphone provider must be accessible.

Walkie-talkies for public safety, commercial and industrial uses may be part of trunked radio systems, which dynamically allocate radio channels for more efficient use of limited radio spectrum. Such systems always work with a base station that acts as a repeater and controller, although individual handsets and mobiles may have a mode that bypasses the base station.

Walkie-talkies are widely used in any setting where portable radio communications are necessary, including business, public safety, military, outdoor recreation, and the like, and devices are available at numerous price points from inexpensive analogue units sold as toys up to ruggedized (i.e. waterproof or intrinsically safe) analogue and digital units for use on boats or in heavy industry. Most countries allow the sale of walkie-talkies for, at least, business, marine communications, and some limited personal uses such as CB radio, as well as for amateur radio designs. Walkie-talkies, thanks to increasing use of miniaturized electronics, can be made very small, with some personal two-way UHF radio models being smaller than a deck of cards (though VHF and HF units can be substantially larger due to the need for larger antennas and battery packs).

In addition, as costs come down, it is possible to add advanced squelch capabilities such as CTCSS (analogue squelch) and DCS (digital squelch) (often marketed as "privacy codes") to inexpensive radios, as well as voice scrambling and trunking capabilities. Some units (especially amateur HTs) also include DTMF keypads for remote operation of various devices such as repeaters. Some models include VOX capability for hands-free operation, as well as the ability to attach external microphones and speakers.

In addition to land mobile use, waterproof walkie-talkie designs are also used for marine VHF and aviation communications, especially on smaller boats and ultralight aircraft where mounting a fixed radio might be impractical or expensive. Often such units will have switches to provide quick access to emergency and information channels.