Radio Licencing in the United Kingdom|
Ofcom deals with the issue of radio licences in the UK
Why Is Radio Usage Licenced?
Ofcom is the government body that deals with licencing of radios to transmit on various
Licencing and control of radio users is necessary to ensure that radio users have access to clear channels as
needed, and that their transmissions do not interfere with other users, causing problems.
There are many types of radio user, some "official" such as the emergency services, the military, local
councils, railways etc, and then private businesses, individuals, hobbyists etc.
It is obviously important to ensure that people who depend on effective radio communications to do
their jobs are not hampered by other people talking on their frequencies.
Business Radio Licencing
Focussing on business radio licencing, there are basically three options available:
1. Use "licence-free" radio equipment (often known as "PMR446" radios)
Pros: these radios are cheaper to buy, and no licence is needed - you can just buy them and
begin using them, and the frequencies that they use are also legal to use throughout the E.U.
Cons: the "licence-free" radios are legally limited to 0.5 watts power output which means
a shorter range than the more powerful licenced radios, also the 8 channels available can be "busy" with a lot of
users in some areas.
2. Get the straightforward "UK Simple" radio licence
This licence allows the user to use more powerful licenced radios on a list of shared frequencies anywhere
in the UK.
Pros: It is cheap (£75) and lasts for five years. It entitles you to use more powerful radios
and to take them anywhere in the UK.
Cons: You do not have exclusive use of a frequency, so you may hear other users on the same
3. Get a "geographic area" licence
This type of licence means that the user has exclusive rights to use a frequency in a particular area.
Pros: You know that you have a frequency "to yourself" in your area, no-one else can use your
frequency and interfere with your radio messages.
Cons: This type of licence is considerably more expensive (from around £100 a year in most of
the UK rising to £1,000+ per year in "crowded" areas such as Central London). You can only use the radios on this
channel in your licenced area. If you take them anywhere else in the country and use them, you would be breaking
the law, and you may be interfering with other users who have paid for the exclusive use of that frequency in their
Obtaining a Licence
Anyone can apply for a licence from Ofcom via their web site, either online, or by downloading and printing off
the relevant forms and completing and submitting them by post.
We Can Get Your Licence For You
If you buy radios from us, we can complete the relevant application for a licence on your behalf. We can
complete the relevant applications and submit them to Ofcom for you. Ofcom will then contact you to ask you to pay
the relevant fee.