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Two way radio licences - a business user’s guide

If your business is using two way radios for the first time you may be wondering whether you need a licence from Ofcom, and what type to apply for. We hope you find the following guide helpful.

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Can I use licence free radios?

Licence free radios (often called walkie talkies) only operate in the UK on the frequencies 446.0 to 446.1 MHz. Unfortunately this is unsuitable for most businesses, which usually need greater range, more advanced radio features and dedicated channels to reduce interference from outside users.

So what type of licence do I need?

We can advise you about this, but a summary of the licence types below might help you decide what type of licence best suits your needs.

Simple UK Light

If you use a back-to-back system of hand portable or mobile radios anywhere in the UK, but do not use a base station, a Simple UK Light licence might suit your needs. The important criteria here is that you don’t use a base station.

You’ll have access to 15 frequencies spread across four Business Radio frequency bands. The licence fee is £75 for five years.

Simple Site Light

If your radio system operates a base station or mobile station within a small area, typically about one kilometre or less, a Simple Site Light licence, costing £75 for five years, might be most appropriate for you.

Suppliers Light

Suppliers who wish to carry out servicing and repairs of two way radios, hire out business radios and carry out certain other relevant services should apply for a Suppliers Light licence, which gives them access to a wide range of frequencies. The fee is £75 for five years.

Technically Assigned

Offering a wide range of frequencies and coverage areas (from a single building to a whole county) a Technically Assigned licence authorises the use of a variety of business radio equipment.

Licence fees are calculated according to several factors in your application, including the size of the coverage area and the popularity of the frequency band. The cost typically ranges from £75 to £1,480 for a single channel assignment.

Area Defined

If you want exclusive use of a frequency across a specified area, an Area Defined licence is the best choice for you. Areas can be defined as a 50km grid square, a country within the UK, or the whole of the UK.

Costs are calculated on the basis of frequency width, range and the region covered, but could be as low as £75 for a less popular band in, for example, Northern Ireland, to as much as £9,900 for a highly popular band covering the whole of the UK.

A more detailed list of Ofcom’s fees for business radio licences can be found here.

How do I apply for a licence?

You can apply, pay for and be issued some licence types (Simple Site, Simple UK and Suppliers Light) immediately online, but Ofcom will process your application manually for a Technically Assigned or Area Defined licence, invoicing you before issuing your licence.

If you’re new to two way radios and need help applying to Ofcom for your licence, we can help.

Contact us on 0800 294 7766 for free, impartial and expert advice.

Released On 9th Aug 2017

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