Business radio FAQs

13 March 2017

You are able to apply for and issue the following licence types immediately online by logging into the Online Licensing System.

  • Simple Site
  • Simple UK
  • Suppliers Light

You are able to apply for the following types of licences using the online application form.

  • Technically Assigned
  • Area Defined

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.

Suppliers Light:
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 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.

Technically Assigned:
This 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:
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 us first.

Contact details:
If you require further assistance regarding any of these products, call 020 7981 3131 or email Spectrum.Licensing@ofcom.org.uk.

If you apply for a Business Radio Light Licence via the Online Licensing System, you can apply, pay for and issue a licence immediately.

Business Radio Technically Assigned and Area Defined licences are issued within 14-21 days from the date that the application is received. *

Ofcom is committed to reducing the time it takes to issue new licences. Applying online eliminates postage times and speeds up the application process.

*Times stated exclude the period that an application is on hold for while we wait for payment, or if the licence requires national/international coordination.

For new applications, you have 28 days from the date that the invoice is issued. If no payment is received by this time, then the application may be cancelled and you will have to reapply.

For renewals, you have until your renewal date to pay for this licence. This will be the last day of the month in which you receive the renewal notice and invoice. You risk having your licence(s) revoked if payment is not received by this date.

Please submit a payment only once you have received an invoice. Early payments will be returned to you.

The quickest way to pay is via the online payment portal.

For general queries, you will be asked to confirm two of the following:

  • Licence number (of the format 012345/1)
  • Customer reference (of the format 1-XXX-XXX)
  • Licensee's name
  • Registered postcode of the licensee

For billing enquiries, an invoice number (of the format 77XXXXXX) is required.

Please complete the contact update form, and choose to sign up for our e-communications service.

Check that all of the information that we currently hold for the licence(s) is correct. If all of the data is correct then no further action is required. If you need to make any changes or updates, please notify us immediately.

Contact details can be changed via the Online Licensing System.

Technical variations can be made through the Online Variation Form.

Trade requests and contact changes can also be made by completing the relevant sections of the validation notice, and returning the forms to Spectrum Licensing.

Spectrum Licensing
Riverside House
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London
SE1 9HA

Email: Spectrum.Licensing@ofcom.org.uk 

Please note that any variation requests and trades received during the month of renewal cannot be processed until we receive your renewal payment.

We cannot make a technical change or surrender a licence while we are waiting for a renewal payment. Any technical changes or surrenders can be requested once the exact renewal fee has been paid. In this case, any credits or debits will be applied to the next renewal year.*

*This excludes credits for surrendered licences which cost £75 or less, which are non-refundable.

You are able to surrender the following licence types online by logging into the Online Licensing System. 

  • Simple Site
  • Simple UK
  • Suppliers Light


You can make a surrender request for the following licence types using the Online Surrender Form. 

  • Technically Assigned
  • Area Defined

For fees up to and including £5,000, the fastest way is to submit a credit/debit card payment through our online payment portal.

Or complete and return the remittance advice slip attached your invoice. Ofcom accepts the following methods of payment:

  • The preferred method of payment is credit/debit card, up to a maximum of £5,000. Please note that we do not accept American Express.
  • For payments over £5,000 a direct debit instruction is best. Direct debits cannot be set up in time to collect the first payment, but will be used for future payments. However, payment can be taken by direct debit for a new licence if you are an existing licensee with a live direct debit instruction set up with your bank. For existing licensees, if you have already received your renewal notice please make a separate payment, using an alternative method, as the direct debit will not be set up in time to take the outstanding payment. All subsequent payments will be taken from your account once the direct debit mandate has been set up.
  • If you prefer to make a BACS payment, please quote your invoice number, so that our Finance team can identify your payment easily.
  • For International Bankers Drafts, please quote your invoice number. You will need to add the charge on an international bankers draft to the total requested.
  • Cheques should be returned with the remittance advice slip attached, and have the invoice number clearly printed on the back.

Simply name yourself as the relevant point of contact for the client's licence(s).

  • By default, the licence agent is sent a copy of the invoice for new licence applications, and a copy of the licence once the payment has been received.
  • If you would like to receive all licence and renewal documentation on behalf of your client, name yourself as the licence contact and payment contact on their licence(s).
  • If you wish to pay for the initial licence fee, but have your client pay for future renewals, name yourself as the 'licence agent'. A copy of the invoice for the initial licence fee will be sent to you as well as the customer.

To update the contact details for an existing licence, visit the Online Licensing System.

All Business Radio Light Licence products, including Simple UK, Simple Site and Suppliers Light licences, cost £75 for a five-year term.

The licence fees for Business Radio Technically Assigned and Area Defined products are calculated by taking into account the technical details that you specify when making an application.

A more detailed overview of the fee calculation process can be found here PDF, 88.7 KB .

The cost of a variation is applied at the next renewal date. We calculate a new yearly licence fee based on the updated licence details, and where appropriate, apply either a credit or debit to your next renewal. This credit or debit is calculated on a pro-rata basis.

Example calculation for a fee decrease:

In the following example, a licence is issued at the cost of £100 in January. Six months later, in July, a variation is made which reduces the yearly fee to £80. The next renewal fee is now £80, minus the pro-rated difference between the two fees.

ActionCalculation

Take the original licence fee, before any changes have been made.

£100

Take the new licence fee, after changes have been made.

£75

Subtract the new fee from the old fee.

£100 - £75 = £25

Divide this number by 12 to find the monthly difference, and multiply the result by the number of full remaining months until the next renewal date.

(£25/12)x6 = 12.50

To calculate the adjusted fee for the next renewal only, subtract this number from the new licence fee.

£75 - £12.50 =£62.50

*The full remaining months are August, September, October, November, December and January.

Example calculation for a fee increase:

In the next example, a licence is issued in January at the cost of £150. Four months later, in May, a variation is made which increases the yearly fee to £300. The next renewal fee is now £300, plus the pro-rated difference between the two fees.

ActionCalculation

Take the original licence fee, before any changes have been made.

£150

Take the new licence fee, after changes have been made.

£300

Subtract the old fee from the new fee.

£300 - £150 = £150

Divide this number by 12 to find the monthly difference, and multiply the result by the number of full and partial remaining months until the next renewal date.

(£150 ÷ 12) x 9* = £112.50

To calculate the adjusted fee for the next renewal only, add this number to the new licence fee.

£300 + £112.50 =£412.50

*The full remaining months are June, July, August, September, October, November, December and January. The partial month is May.

Send a harmonisation request to Spectrum Licensing via email at Spectrum.Licensing@ofcom.org.uk. Please state your customer reference number, the licence number(s) that you would like us to harmonise, and your preferred harmonised renewal date.*

A harmonisation can only be performed if:

  • The licensee has at least one valid licence which is due for renewal on the requested harmonised renewal date.
  • The current renewal date of the licence(s) to be harmonised falls before the requested harmonised renewal date.
  • The licence(s) to be harmonised share the same payment interval, e.g. annually renewable licences may only be harmonised with other annually renewable licences.

Once we have processed your request, we will send you a harmonisation letter.

If you want to harmonise a new licence with existing licences, please specify your preferred renewal date in the appropriate section of the application form.

*Please note that Ofcom will only issue a single invoice for the renewal fees of your harmonised licences if all licences share the same payment contact. If the licences you wish to harmonise do not currently have the same payment contact, and you would like to receive a single invoice, then please state your preferred payment contact when requesting the harmonisation of your licences.

We will issue an invoice to the payment contact for your licence(s) approximately one month before the old renewal date of these licences. The fee requested will be calculated on a pro-rata basis, covering the period between the old and harmonised renewal dates. Once this fee has been paid, the renewal date of your licences will move to the harmonised renewal date.