Knowledge Base
Answers to Your Questions about Radio and Wireless Voice Communications

Licenced Radios

01 April 2019

Licensed radios tend to cost more than PMR446 licence-free radios and they require a licence. So why would you choose them?.

Unlike PMR446 radios which are exclusively back-to-back (direct mode) licensed radios can be used with Base Stations and Repeaters to massively improve range. Some licensed radios have many more features than licence-free radios, features essential for industrial and safety applications e.g. lone worker, features not available in licence-free radios.

Licensed radios are scalable, you can start with a couple in direct mode and if you find coverage is not good enough for your work site grows you add a repeater or base station at some later date. (this is impossible with PMR446 radios)

Licensed radios require a licence for every jurisdiction in which they are used. The licensing authority (OFCOM in the UK) issues a licence with specific frequencies for you to use (unlike PMR446 where frequencies are pre-arranged).

A Licence is required for each country in which you intend to use your radios and this usually makes licenced radio impractical to use outside the UK. PMR446 radios fulfil this role and are the only practical solution for most users moving from country to country. There is not central licensing authority, applications are done country by country.

Licensed radios are more powerful than PMR446 radios but when making a direct like-for-like comparison of range in direct mode you will find the differences not very significant. It is the use of external aerial and repeaters that make Licensed radios advantageous.


  • Licensed radios are scalable in terms of range. They can be used in both small site and wide area systems.
  • Licensed radios require a licence, a different licence for each country in which they will be used.
  • Licensed radios can be feature rich (or very simple).
  • Licensed radios cannot be used us PMR446 radios. They don't comply with the PMR446 specification.
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