Why do I need a licence for my radio

Issue 38 – May 2012

'Land mobile service' defines radiocommunications between two (or more) parties where at least one is mobile (hand-held or vehicle-mounted radio equipment). Allocation of frequencies and operating areas through radio licensing helps ensure that communication does not suffer interference from conflict between users.

Whether your radio-telephone can work on 6 channels or 60, it must only be used on the channels which are licensed to you or for which you have formal approval from an authorised licence holder. This maintains the frequency separation or geographical separation that is essential to spectrum management.

Don't simply look for a 'quiet' channel to use for your communications. You may cause interference to licensed users even though you don't hear responses or complaints from them, and will risk interrupting or preventing communication that may be critical to their business or staff safety. You also run the risk of receiving an instant fine. Particular attention is being paid to radio-telephone use in the forestry and road construction industries where instances of unlicensed frequency use have been noted.

Where the Ministry of Economic Development's Radio Inspectors find anyone using an unlicensed frequency, an infringement offence fine of $250 (or $1250 for a company) is a common outcome.

Summarised from the Ministry of Economic Development's 'Radio Spectrum Business Update', April 2012.

Published in business and ICT.