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UK Radio Licensing
Ofcom the UK's Communications Regulator. Ofcom has a wide range of powers over television, radio, telecoms and postal sectors. Ofcom promotes competition and protects the public from harmful or offensive material.
When it comes to purchasing radios there are several options available to the customer.
Simple UK Light:
This licence authorises the use of hand-portable or mobile radio equipment anywhere within the UK. Base station use is not permitted. Licensees have access to fifteen frequencies spread across four Business Radio frequency bands and must self-coordinate with other Simple UK Light licensees. The licence fee is £75 for five years.
Simple Site Light:
This licence authorises the use of a radio system operating a base station and mobile stations within a small area (typically 1 kilometre or less). Frequencies available under this licence class are typically used for radio paging systems. Licensees have access to a range of frequencies and must self-coordinate with other Simple Site Light licensees. The licence fee is £75 for five years.
This licence is a specialist licence for Radio Suppliers and permits them to:
- Service and repair business radio and marine equipment
- Hire out business radio (including trunked business radio) and/or radio paging equipment to customers for up to one year
- Allocate business radio (including trunked business radio) equipment to customers awaiting Business Radio licences, for up to three months (known as ‘parking’)
- Demonstrate business radio (including trunked business radio) equipment to customers for up to 8 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.
This licence is a flexible licence that authorises the use of a wide variety of business radio equipment. Licensees can choose from a wide range of frequencies across all Business Radio bands and a wide range of coverage areas, from very small (e.g. in-building coverage) to very large (e.g. a county).
Licence fees are calculated on the basis of several factors including the size of the coverage area and the popularity of the frequency band and typically range from £75 to £1480 for a single channel assignment.
Area Defined licences give customers exclusive use of a frequency across either a 50km2 grid square, a country, or the whole of the UK. Licence fees are calculated using a combination of frequency width, frequency range and region covered.
As an example, a duplex 12.5kHz frequency between 450 and 470MHz to be used across the UK would cost £9,900. A duplex 12.5kHz frequency between 68 and 80MHz to be used across the UK would cost £3,300.
Availability of UK wide channels is extremely limited above 165MHz, so if wish to purchase an Area Defined licence you should check spectrum availability with Ofcom first.
There is also the option of license free radios which use a 446MHZ frequency band and it is normally used in low cost walkie talkies.