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Blog: Everything You Need To Know About Ofcom’s Radio Licensing         Published: 05/01/2023

Everything You Need To Know About Ofcom’s Radio Licensing

In the UK, you’ll need a licence from Ofcom to use certain types of two-way radio on your business premises. So, if you’re considering two way radio solutions for your company, you’ll want to know what they involve from a regulatory point of view. Let’s look at what you need to know about Ofcom two way radio licensing.



What is Ofcom?

The Office of Communications (Ofcom) is the official regulatory body for telecommunications, broadcasting, and postal services in the UK, setting regulatory standards for all levels of telecoms communication, from mobile phone networks to the two-way radios used in supermarkets, bus companies, greenfield festivals, and schools. Ofcom standards help ensure that radio transmissions are secure and that communications are clear, by regulating which devices and organisations can use specific call frequencies.

Ofcom licensing requirements

In common with many UK regulatory bodies, Ofcom standards are enforced through the requirement to take out a paid licence to use certain radio frequencies. Licenses are available for either a single site, or for multisite businesses, and cover any number of devices that use the same frequency range. On being granted your licence, you’ll be designated a specific range you can use, which means you’ll be able to use that frequency for communication without worrying about distortion or interference from other users.

Not all two-way radios require a licence. Ofcom have designated a frequency band that can be used by so-called ‘unlicensed’ radios. However, this narrow frequency band is crowded with small amateur devices and radios and is generally unsuitable for clear, long-distance communication, and also isn’t as secure as the licenced frequency bands.

Businesses that operate radios without a valid license (i.e. devices designed to operate using licensed frequency bands) are subject to large penalties, and in some cases those responsible may be given a prison sentence.

This is why you’ll want to get the right license and keep renewing it as and when needed. Bear in mind that any changes in technical equipment may affect the validity of your license, so make sure to notify Ofcom using their Online Variation Form if you upgrade or modify any of your radio equipment.

How to get an Ofcom two way radio license

Obtaining an Ofcom two-way radio licence is cheap and easy. You can submit an application online on the Ofcom Online Services site. Before applying, you’ll need to know which type of license you need, since each type comes with different use criteria and costs. These are the types of Ofcom licenses available:

Simple site: suited for businesses with a ‘base station’ or head office that operate radios locally.
Simple UK: suited for use on multiple sites throughout the UK, without a base station.
– Technically assigned: suited for businesses that operate more sophisticated or higher-powered radio equipment, whether they do so locally or over a wide geographical area. With these licenses, you get assigned a private channel, unlike in Simple site and Simple UK licenses, which give you access to shared channels.
– Area defined: suited for businesses that require UK-wide coverage via an exclusive frequency. Area-defined licenses are hard to get due to high costs and limited frequency availability, so they’re not recommended for small businesses.

We can apply for the license on your behalf for a fee, please contact us for more information.

Other things you need to know

Upon application, you will be asked to pay for your license before it can be issued. Payment must be settled within 28 days, otherwise your application will be cancelled.

Simple site and Simple UK licenses come at a fixed fee, whereas the cost of Technically assigned and Area defined licenses varies based on equipment technical details, location, and other requirements.

Simple site or Simple UK licenses are issued on the spot after payment. Technically assigned and Area defined licenses take up to 42 days to be issued.

Ofcom radio licences from DTS Solutions

DTS Solutions can help you with all aspects of Ofcom licence management, from the initial application to amending an existing license or renewing it. We also provide on-site support during Ofcom inspections. For more details, please contact our experts in Ofcom License Management.