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Licence vs. Licence-Free: What Is the Difference?

Many people struggle to understand the difference between licence and licence-free two-way radios.

Frequently asked questions we often meet with are queries such as:

  • What is the difference between the two?
  • Why do I need a licence?
  • Which is better, licence or licence-free?

Do not fear! We are here to identify the differences between licence and licence-free radios.


A radio licence provides you with a frequency that is unique to you so you can use your radios legally and securely. A licence in the UK is obtained from Ofcom and starts at £75 for 5 years. Licenced radios must be specially programmed, which we can happily do for you at no extra cost.

See a selection of our licenced two-way radios on our website here.


Licence-free two-way radios ensure you don’t need a licence to operate your radio, this means that when your radio arrives, it is ready to use. They are great for covering small areas where you don’t need to cover a large range, however, other users can transmit on the same frequency, meaning you may hear conversations from other people and they may hear yours.

Browse a selection of our licence-free two-way radios on our website here.

See the infographic below for the advantages of both licence and licence-free two-way radios.


For more information go to the 2Way RadioShop website , contact us on 0800 328 0100, or email


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