Potraz considering adopting licensing for Walkie Talkies
18 April 2019
POTRAZ is considering the adoption of Class Licensing for Private Mobile Radios (PMRs) 446 and DMR446 radios, in line with SADC Guidelines and established international best practice.
Due to the worldwide harmonisation of standards and licensing condition for PMR446 and DMR446 radios, such devices are commonplace and sold off-the-shelf in supermarkets, duty-free shops at airports and D.I.Y shops across the globe.
Under the circumstances, a number of private citizens have bought such radios assuming that Zimbabwe adopted the Class-Licence regime in line with international best practice. Many have been disappointed upon realising that, in Zimbabwe, for this class of radio, the international practice does not apply. Oftentimes such well-meaning individuals are requested to surrender the equipment at the port of entry or are requested to return the devices to their country of origin. In some cases, individuals have been arrested for illegal possession or operation of such devices.
In line with the Government’s thrust on Opening Zimbabwe for Business, POTRAZ intends to make it legal to import and operate PMR446 and DMR446 radios under specified technical and regulatory conditions, in line with international practice.
Private Mobile Radios (PMRs), sometimes called Walkie Talkies, are mobile devices that operate within certain sub-bands of High frequency (HF 3-30 MHz), Very High Frequency (VHF 30- 300 MHz) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF 300 – 3000 MHz) bands. PMRs were developed for business users who need to keep in contact over relatively short distances with a central base station, also called a dispatcher. PMR networks consist of two or more handheld radios and may include a base station.
The frequency at which the radios operate is one of the factors that influence the maximum communication distance between the radios, with higher frequencies resulting in shorter distances. Users prefer the lower frequency bands which allow them to get the widest coverage so that they can communicate over the largest possible area. Users, once licenced, do not have to think about the cost of communicating with each other, as there are no monthly or call duration based charges.