I could be wrong on this one, but I understand that in some countries, radio frequencies are regulated, with licences being require to OPERATE on the the networks.

As mentioned most channels are regulated (since commercial operators usually use them as well), so what sort of licences are given out ? and who are the bodies who usually issue these licences ?

for e.g- are licences limited to a specific range of channels any restrictions ?

edit: i'll make this clearer ... & AM/FM frequencies was wrong. my bad.

  • $\begingroup$ Not a question about amateur radio, but everything is regulated, and everything but CB, amateur, FRS (and international equivalents), and ISM (industrial, scientific, and medical bands). $\endgroup$ – Dan KD2EE Oct 26 '13 at 3:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Dan Those are regulated too, just differently. For the amateur radio bands, a major requirement is that of an amateur radio license. CB, FRS/PMR, ISM, LPD and so on are regulated in terms of requirements placed on the transmitting equipment. You can't legally dump a signal onto a CB frequency, even staying within the channel bandwidth, without proper approval of the transmitter. $\endgroup$ – user Oct 26 '13 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I meant to say "everything is regulated" and "everything but ... requires a license" but forgot some words $\endgroup$ – Dan KD2EE Oct 26 '13 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ Sid5427, Could you please clarify your question some? Right now it appears that you are asking about all radio in general, not just Amateur radio. Not to mention that regulations are different in just about every country. $\endgroup$ – Seth Oct 26 '13 at 16:55

In most countries, all or almost all frequencies are by license. Some licenses are by class, e.g. FRS radios in the US are permitted automatically (by class) to almost anyone in the US (excluding agents of a foreign country), but it's still technically a license.

Every very low power radios, like the mini-FM transmitters that plug into smart phones and media players for those vehicles lacking Bluetooth or an Aux plug for audio input, are technically covered under Part 15, although one could argue there's no license like FRS has.

Given the need for more radio bandwidth from the carriers, I don't foresee any frequencies being made available in an unlicensed fashion. There's too much demand from companies capable of buying them. That's part of the reason why Amateur Radio exists - to allow experimentation and advancement of radio without requiring an upfront investment by each ham to compete with the cell carriers and public safety organizations of the world.


Most transmitting equipment requires a licence to use. There are a small number of band-segments that allow licence free operation, such as the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz bands used for WiFi (etc).

Assuming your question is specifically about Ham Radio allocations, then you need a licence to operate. Within the terms of your licence, this gives you permission to transmit on those band segments allocated to amateur radio.

Note: there are regional variations, and these are detailed in the respective Band Plan (eg here for the UK / IARU Region 1)


When you say "radio (AM or FM) frequencies", it makes me think you are talking about broadcast radio used by consumers. Interpreting the question in that light alone; some countries do give an implied license to broadcast on these frequencies at a sufficiently low power to ensure there is little interference.


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