A Radio License: 4 Important Differences

Radio licences in the UK are supplied and regulated by Ofcom. Typically speaking, a licensed radio is eight times more powerful than a license free radio. They are often a good choice for sites that are larger and need extra coverage or for businesses who want the added security.

Ofcom offers various types of licenses for radios, with the two most prevalent options being the Technically Assigned Licence and the Simple UK Licence, each with its unique characteristics and duration.

The Technically Assigned Licence, typically granted for a duration of one year, is a comprehensive licensing option provided by Ofcom. This license involves a detailed technical assessment to ensure that the radio equipment complies with regulatory standards and does not cause interference with other users of the radio spectrum. The one-year duration allows for a relatively short-term commitment, suitable for situations where the radio communication needs may change or evolve within a relatively brief timeframe.

On the other hand, the Simple UK Licence, with a longer validity period of five years, offers a more extended and stable licensing solution. This type of license is designed to be user-friendly, simplifying the application process while still adhering to regulatory requirements. The extended duration provides licensees with a longer period of certainty and operational continuity, making it suitable for businesses or organizations with long-term communication requirements.


Radios can only communicate by being on the same frequency as each other. Any radios that you purchase or hire from Maximon Solutions will all be programmed the same, if they have multiple channels, these will differ slightly to allow multiple lines of communications. However, the downside of a licence free radio, is that anyone else in the area may be able to get on the same frequency and hear what you are saying or cause interference that will affect your sound quality.

By obtaining a licence through Ofcom (which we can do for you), you can be provided with your own frequency which means no-one else can legally hear what you are saying. This is important to many schools and health-care sites as they operate under strict safe-guarding and confidentiality policies.


Having a radio license provides the advantage of accessing a radio with 4w, rather than 0.5w, thereby enhancing the communication range at your disposal. This increased power allows for more robust signal propagation (the traveling of waves), making it particularly beneficial for communication across expansive areas or larger sites where maintaining reliable connections over extended distances is crucial. However, it’s worth noting that the amplified capabilities afforded by licensed radios may not always be a necessity for smaller sites, where the communication requirements may be adequately met with lower-power, unlicensed radios. In such scenarios, the additional expense and regulatory complexities associated with licensing may outweigh the practical benefits, making unlicensed radios a more pragmatic choice for smaller-scale communication needs.

If you find yourself uncertain about the extent of coverage your organisation requires, Maximon Solutions offers the convenience of commitment free trials. Through these demos, you have the opportunity to assess whether a licensed-free radio would indeed be sufficient for your needs. This hands-on experience allows you to test the capabilities of the radios in real-world scenarios, evaluating factors such as signal strength, clarity, and reliability within your intended operating environment.

radios with a license provide a wider coverage area

First Use

The benefit of having a licence free radio is that they can be used straight away. This is great if you need a communications solution immediately for an emergency, or if you only need them for a one-off event. There is no need to wait for the licence application to be approved.

If you have begun your two-way radio journey and have decided that you require licensed radios, there may be a delay between the time you order and the time your radios are ready to use due to the application process of a license. Ofcom may take up to a month to issue your frequencies.


It is important to consider whether the extra costs in having licenced radios are outweighed by the benefits. Not only is there the cost of the licence itself to consider, but the radios themselves can also be more expensive due to the added features that come with the radio. For some people, the added range and security is worth it.

The Summary

In summary, choosing between licensed and unlicensed radios depends on your specific communication needs and the environment in which you will be operating. High-powered licensed radios offer extensive range, reliable communication on regulated frequency bands, and advanced features suitable for professional and critical applications. However, they require a license and involve higher costs. On the other hand, low-powered unlicensed radios provide an accessible, cost-effective solution for personal use, small businesses, and recreational activities, though with limitations in range and potential interference.

Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision, ensuring that you select the right type of radio to meet your requirements. Whether you need the robust capabilities of a licensed radio for a large-scale operation or the simplicity and convenience of an unlicensed radio for casual use, both types play a crucial role in keeping people connected.

Contact us today to discuss your licensing requirements or to arrange a commitment-free demo!

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