How do you apply for a radio license?
Obtaining a broadcasting license is not as difficult as it sounds. Yet it is necessary to have and there are some things you need to know about it. This blog gives you insight into how you can apply for a radio license in the Netherlands or Belgium and what it involves.
When is a permit required?
Most radios are programmed on a free public frequency: PMR446. These are license-free radios that are mainly used for leisure use or short distances. A disadvantage of this is that other users can sit on your channel without being asked and the range is considerably less.
You must have a permit if:
- You use radios that operate on a different frequency than the PMR446 band.
- Have a Watt strength above 0.5 Watt.
Benefits of a permit?
A permit helps you to:
Increase the range (up to 20 km, depending on circumstances and repeaters)
Exclude unwanted participants. Thanks to your private channel you reduce the risk of malfunctions or unwanted intervention.
This is particularly practical for security, emergency response, business owners, shipping and employees in the transportation industry.
Apply for a permit in the Netherlands
You need to request a broadcasting license in the Netherlands from Agentschap Telecom with this form. You will then be assigned your own frequency that can only be used by your radios. The validity period of the permit is 5 years. You have the option to apply for a temporary permit (less than 5 years), but also to extend your current permit after 5 years.
Only companies can apply for licenses. Individuals must use license-free radios on the PMR446 frequency. If you order a radio from Onedirect, we can program it for you on the correct frequency so that it is immediately ready for use.
In the Netherlands you pay per permit; it does not matter whether you have programmed 5 or 50 radios on your frequency. The license costs consist of:
One-off administration costs, for the application for the permit: ± € 150.
Annual renewal costs: ± € 60
Any extra costs when using a repeater or mobile phones. For the exact price, we advise you to contact Agentschap Telecom.
Your license is only valid for the Netherlands, a separate license must be applied for abroad. The range between two-way radios is up to 15 kilometers, depending on the area in which you use them.
You can increase the range by using a repeater. You can see a repeater as a sort of intermediate station and is only permitted if you have a permit. The radios then do not communicate directly with each other, but via the repeater. Although you increase the range considerably, there is a slight delay in the communication that you have to take into account. Repeaters are sold from 1 to 50 watts. Your permit states the maximum permitted power of your repeater (Watt).
You can send the following forms to Telecom Agency by e-mail or by post:
To apply for your broadcasting license.
For changing your broadcasting license, for example if you are switching from analogue to digital, or from VHF to UHF.
For transferring your broadcasting license, for example if you have resold your radios.
Apply for a permit in Belgium
You must apply for a license in Belgium at BIPT (Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications), whether it is for permanent or temporary use. At BIPT, a radio is also called a portable station or a private radio station.
License-free radios are PMR446 and DPMR446 devices. These can therefore be used without a permit. However, there are limitations when using these devices: they cannot be used on other frequencies, and the power is limited to 500mW.
Note: The possession of devices with a larger capacity is illegal in Belgium. Also, you may not program your radios requiring a license on the frequency of PMR446 devices, this is only meant for radios that are not licensed.
In Belgium, you need two different licenses if you use a walkie talkie that requires a permit:
General holder’s license. This is a license for the possession of a radio, private or professional. You can request this with this form.
You must send this by post to the following address:
- Application form for obtaining an authorization for the use of private radio communication. This can be requested using this form. You send the completed form by post to the above address or by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Upon receipt of the application form, a file will be created and a frequency will be assigned. The treatment period for assigning a frequency is variable and varies from a few days to a few weeks.
The permit costs vary annually in Belgium in January 1. The costs below are based on the costs per 1 January 2018:
- One-time file fee: € 156.19. This is mandatory for every new application (if you want to request a change, the file fees will be halved).
- The annual usage costs are variable as it depends on the technical characteristics of your network. An Excel file for the exact costs in 2018 can be found here. In this file you can see that there are different categories. These will be explained below.
Radios, or private radio stations, are subdivided into categories by BIPT. These categories distinguish themselves in their destination and the way in which they work. If you have a permit, the category under which your permit falls is stated on this. To estimate the costs for yourself, you can see here in which category you fall:
- Mobile radio networks (excluding those falling under category 3).
- Fixed radio networks: one-way connection between two fixed points.
- Mobile radio networks installed by:
the State, communities, regions, provinces, municipalities;
railway infrastructure companies;
medical or social assistance institutions.
Radio stations as referred to in Article 33.2 of the Act.
- Radio stations for individual training, technical messaging and studies, used by radio amateurs.
- Permits for testing of equipment or for demos.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Telecom Agency or BIPT.
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