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Which Two Way Radio Licence Do I Need?

What type of two Way Radio Licence will I need?

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Over the past months, here at Radphone, we’ve heard from several customers who have fallen foul of licencing regulations, so we thought we’d do a follow up to our previous article “Could an Ofcom licence put you in prison?”

In case you were wondering, when you use any type of radio transmitting equipment, you are subject to OFCOM licensing regulations… Yes, even licence exempt equipment must still to conform to the appropriate legislation. See Here.

So, what type of radio licence do you need?

There are a number of options, but we’ll start with the most basic, commonly used licences…

Simple Site Light Licence:

This licence allows the use of a radio system consisting of a base station and/or mobiles operating within a small geographical area. The range allowed is typically 1 kilometer or less.

A specific frequency is not allocated. Instead, you’re given a number of frequencies (16 -17) to choose from. Users must share and self-coordinate with other licensees (At the simplest, users would select another channel if they experience interference ).

The licence fee is currently £75 for five years and is normally issued immediately online.

Simple UK Light Licence:

This licence is similar to the Simple Site licence above, but is not restricted to local area use. It allows the use of hand-portable or mobile radio equipment anywhere within the UK; however, base stations aren’t allowed.

The number of available frequencies is more restricted than simple site (2-5). Users must also share and self-coordinate with other Simple UK Light licensees (as above).

The current fee for a licence is £75 for five years and is normally issued immediately online..

Suppliers Light Licence:

This is a specialist licence, primarily for Radio Suppliers and among other things, permits them to:

  • hire out radios to customers for up to one year
  • allocate radio equipment to customers awaiting Business Radio licences, for up to three months (‘parking’)
  • demonstrate radio equipment to customers for up to eight days

Licensees have access to a wide range of frequencies and must share and self-coordinate with other Suppliers Light licensees.

The licence fee is £75 for five years.


For more specialist applications, such as a need for wide area coverage or high usage, there are other licences available…

Technically Assigned Licence:

This licence allows the use of business radio equipment within a specified coverage area, ranging from very small (in-building) to very large areas (e.g. a county).

As the name suggests, frequencies are assigned to areas, taking numerous factors into account. This type of licence is usually a good choice to reduce the chances of interference from other users.

Licence fees are calculated based on several factors and typically range from £75 to £1,480 yearly, for a single channel.

Area Defined Licence:

An Area Defined licence offers *exclusive* use of a frequency across a 50km2 grid square, a county, or the whole of the UK. Licence fees are calculated using a combination of frequency, bandwidth, frequency range and region covered.

This type of licence is typically used when privacy or a high degree of protection from interference is needed.

Costs are higher for such a licence. For example, a frequency in a less popular part of the spectrum used across the UK would cost £3,300 a year. Whereas, a more popular frequency between 450 and 470MHz would cost £9,900 per year.

Both types of licence above are usually issued 14-21 days from the date of application.

More information about how Technically Assigned and Area Defined licences are calculated can be found here.


Important licence information!

The responsibility for obtaining and paying for a licence rests with the USER of the system, NOT with the supplier of the equipment.

Simply submitting a licence application does not permit you to use or even install any equipment – you must wait until you receive the licence.

If you really can’t wait for your licence to be issued and need your radio system RIGHT NOW, Radphone may be able to arrange for temporary use of our own Suppliers Light Licence. Just get in touch and ask what we can do to help.

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Posted in: Two Way Radio

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