The Advantages Of Licensed vs Unlicensed Radios

Written by:

Enabling IT

Published on:

February 23, 2022


"What Is A Two-Way radio? A two-way radio are models that allow two or more individuals to stay in contact through radio wave communication. Two-way radios are used in a range of environments and by a wide variety of businesses and organisations, as well as private users alike, as a result of their high-quality voice […]"
two way radios

What Is A Two-Way radio?

A two-way radio are models that allow two or more individuals to stay in contact through radio wave communication. Two-way radios are used in a range of environments and by a wide variety of businesses and organisations, as well as private users alike, as a result of their high-quality voice communication and ability to maintain clear and concise unified communications across potentially challenging environments.

How Do Two-Way Radios Work?

A two-way radio functions through the sending and receival of radio waves from one radio unit to another and is often used to transfer audio and data from place to place. When deciding on the ideal two-way radio solution for your business, options include either a licensed radio, or an unlicensed radio.

But which is best for you and your business? Both two-way radio solutions boast a range of benefits, so depending on your circumstance, budget and requirements, comparing the option of a licensed and an unlicensed radio is a great way to ensure that your business needs are fulfilled.

What Is A Licensed Radio?

A licensed radio is a type of two-way radio that provides radio users with a unique radio frequency in which to communicate on. A licensed radio allows users to operate and utilise radio waves in a legal manner, with complete security. Licensed radios have acquired their name through the requirement of a license to operate these models, with license approval required to be renewed on a yearly basis, with the cost of these licenses varying depending on factors such as location, scope requirement and frequency requirement, too.

Licensed radios are a hugely powerful model of two-way radios and are eight-times more powerful than their unlicensed counterparts, offering far superior coverage and a greater frequency selection, making them the perfect solution for those that require a wide-range, or private communications. These capabilities allow fantastic security capabilities and thus, provide strong defence against potential intruders of a sometimes highly sensitive communication from radio-to-radio. For this reason amongst many others, licensed radios have long been the choice for emergency services, the military and similar organisations.

The Benefits Of A Licensed Radio

Businesses and organisations looking for a reliable radio solution, with wide-spread coverage and high power, licensed radios are the perfect solution. For these reasons, licensed radios are the two-way radio of choice by many military organisations.

Some of the top benefits of licensed radios include:

  • Uninterrupted, private communication channels
  • Larger communication range
  • Greater power capabilities
  • Range can be extended with repeaters
  • Long-lasting battery life

As above, it is clear that a higher security capability is not the only benefit of a licensed radio, however, one of the most sought after. Licensed models as such offers a more powerful battery leading to a greater level of flexibility and reliability for the user, as well as private frequency allocation to ensure mission-critical communications are never compromised or interrupted in the occurrence of an emergency.

Further benefits of licensed radios include the ability to implement additional applications and capabilities, namely voice recording, GPS tracking and telemetry.

What Is An Unlicensed Radio?

Unlike licensed radios, unlicensed radios, as the name suggests, do not require any license from local telecom authorities, and are programmed within a fixed band and ready to use. These radios do not require a sometimes costly annual license, and so are often selected by those that want to make use of the benefits of two-way radios, whilst keeping operational costs low.

The benefits of an unlicensed radio

Unlicensed radios are a great way to stay in touch with multiple people and increase your visibility in an area that perhaps requires communication between organisations, locations, and teams, for example.

If you or your business are looking for reliable, cost-effective unlicensed radio solutions, take a look at the following models:

Some of the top benefits of unlicensed radios include:

  • No installation cost
  • Easy set-up and instantaneous use
  • Reliable technology and design
  • Versatile across industries
  • All unlicensed radios work on the same channels
  • Customisation enabled
  • Tested to military standards
  • No monthly licensing fees

For these reasons, license-free radios are designed mainly for small businesses like retail store, restaurants, schools, construction sites, hospitality and events. In terms of recreational usage, unlicensed can also be used during camping, hiking and other activities, making them not only a great choice for businesses, but for private two-way radio users such as families, too.

For private users looking to explore their unlicensed radio options, take a look at the following options for cost-effective and reliable solutions:


Both unlicensed radios and licensed radios offer a range of advantages. When deciding on the ideal model for your two-way radio requirement, whether you opt for an unlicensed or licensed radio solution depends on four main areas:

  • Coverage requirements
  • Security needs
  • The requirement of additional capabilities
  • Budget and affordability

For businesses and organisations looking for a high level of security with widespread coverage, here at Minerva, we recommend selecting a licensed radio to best suit your needs. For those looking for a two-way radio for recreational purposes, or perhaps small businesses or organisations that require a range of communication options, as above, we recommend selecting an unlicensed radio.

To explore Minerva’s extensive two-way radio product portfolio from a range of industry-leading vendors, get in touch with one of our customer service team today.