All ‘Programme Making and Special Events’ (PMSE) must, by law, be licensed in the UK. The use of wireless microphones, talkback (walkie-talkies) and production services for radio and TV must all be licensed, if directly associated with a performance or event. These are the types of licences we can issue to you.
Radios used for general security, catering or crowd control, will need a licence issued by Ofcom.
Ways to buy a licence
You can book frequencies online for short-stay and long-stay* use of:
- Wireless microphones and personal monitors in 470 - 790MHz*
- Duplex and Presenter Talkback in 446/467, 455/468, 457/467, 461/468 and 474/470MHz
- Portables (walky-talkies) in 467- 469MHz
- Camera control in 462 and 473MHz
- Duplex stage intercom in 560/710MHz
- Wireless Cameras in 2, 2.5, 3.5 and 7GHz
- Vision links for short-range use in 12GHz
- Audio Distribution Systems at 60MHz
You can also buy discount tokens (Carnets) to pre-pay for short-stay and long-stay bookings.
You can buy UK Wireless Microphone and personal monitor licences, including:
- 1 and 2 year licences for use of UHF frequencies throughout the UK in 606.500 – 613.500 MHz with geographic restrictions
- 1 year licence for use of VHF frequencies throughout the UK in 175 – 210 MHz
You can renew your existing licence for:
- 1 and 2 year UK Wireless Microphone Licences
- 1 year standard licences
*Except at congested major events and subject to frequency availability
You can apply for your licence by filling in one of our application forms. Once you’ve picked the one best matched to either the type of use or type of equipment you need, please email or post to us here.
We issue licences so frequencies can be coordinated and interference avoided. By using unlicensed equipment you can cause interference to licensed users.
Please make sure you have the right type of licence. If you operate equipment without a licence, you can face a fine of up to £5000 and/or serve a prison sentence. Your equipment may also be seized. If you’re unsure whether you need a licence, please contact us or Ofcom.
Use of PMSE Spectrum
We issue frequencies for 'Programme Making and Special Events' (PMSE)
The following table indicates the legitimate use of 'Programme Making and Special Events' frequencies.
'Included purposes' are those activities for which we can issue a licence.
'Excluded Purposes', are those activities which we cannot licence. Please contact Ofcom for appropriate frequencies.
|Type of Activity||Included Purposes||Excluded Purposes|
Production of a Television or Radio Programme, either at a permanent Studio or a temporary location, - whether or not it takes place at a public or private event.
Radio facilities directly involved in the production or control of the programme material.
Public or private event, at any location, eg
Communications provided for exclusive use of participants.
(Incidental reception of these channels by the public is permitted, subject to the agreement of the licensee)
Vision and sound links for distribution to loudspeakers or video screens, and for public address.
As required for the holding, managing, running and termination of the event at the event location and site management, the following activities or personnel:
Broadcasting for reception by audiences or the general public.
|Linking of programme material from one fixed site to another fixed site||Annual links (designated frequencies only)
30 day links (designated frequencies only)
Occasional use tariff (all other frequencies where available)
|Broadcasting for reception by audiences or the general public.|
|Audio Distribution System (ADS)||For direct reception by a closed user group within a small defined area, typically a sports stadium or conference hall, of audio content such as a referee's comments, conference translations, audio descriptions for the visually impaired etc. ADS licensees must also be in possession of a valid ADS-RSL Broadcasting Act licence||Community radio station
Radio restricted service (RSL)
Who should hold the licence?
Usually it is the user of the equipment who must hold the licence. There are only two exceptions.
Licence exempt equipment.
Licence exempt equipment includes some wireless microphones and some video equipment. Details can be found in the Equipment section of our website, and full details of all licence exempt equipment is available from Ofcom.
UK Wireless Microphone Licence
Any licensee that holds a UK Wireless Microphone Licence may hire or loan equipment to their customers. Providing the licensee supplies their customer with a written permit, the customer may use the equipment under the licence issued to the hirer. We provide a model form of permit to all licensees.
Licences and NoVs
We issue two types of licence - a Standard Licence and a UK Wireless Microphone Licence.
UK Wireless Microphone Licences are used for certain wireless microphone frequencies, and last for a period of one or two years. They are issued to all users who use 'shared' frequencies. The Wireless Mics and Monitors section contains details of these frequencies and licences.
Standard Licences last for a period of one year. They are issued to all users who use 'coordinated' frequencies. These are frequencies where we coordinate the use of frequencies between users, and other services.
The licence comes in three parts:
The Licence which contains general licensing terms and conditions
Schedule One which describes the terms and conditions of the frequencies listed in Schedule Two
Schedule Two which includes a list of the frequencies that have been assigned, with technical characteristics, the location or area of operation and times and dates
Users regularly require additional frequencies to be added to a Standard Licence. We issue a Notice of Variation (NoV) to the licence which details these changes.
The main licence conditions that apply across all radio sectors such as business radio, maritime and programme making are now covered in a new publication Wireless Telegraphy General Licence Conditions Booklet.
Fixed Site Use
An indoor fixed site is a location where the frequency impact of the proposed use would be such that the same frequency could be used at an adjacent site or airborne (though we will normally avoid such assignments).
Permanent (annual) assignments are possible at indoor fixed sites where the owner / occupier of the site is directly responsible for the use of the equipment.
An outdoor fixed site is a location where the frequency impact of the proposed use extends to an area beyond the boundaries of the site such that use of the same frequency within the area is not possible.
Permanent assignments will be individually assessed.
Fees for occasional use can be capped at the 'Area' rate if appropriate.
Licence exempt and shared frequencies may be subject to interference from other users on the same frequency.
This should not happen with coordinated frequencies as these are carefully managed by us.
However, interference can come from many sources such as lights, computers, atmospheric conditions and illegal users. This means that interference free operation cannot be guaranteed.
If you suffer from interference please contact us as soon as possible. We can offer technical support to help quickly resolve interference suffered by licensed customers.
If you were able to resolve the issue yourself, please contact us to report the issue. This may help us identify a long term issue and help prevent a reoccurrence.
Ofcom is the regulator for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services.
Ofcom does this through frequency planning where the spectrum is divided up into segments, in which spectrum use is dedicated to specific radio uses. One segment of the spectrum is designated for radio use for Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE). It is within this segment that radio frequencies can be licensed for equipment that is typically used by touring shows.
Ofcom have contracted us since 1997 to manage and license the PMSE spectrum on their behalf. It is from us that you can be allocated frequencies and obtain a licence.
To find out more about the role and strategy of Ofcom, visit their website at www.Ofcom.org.uk