UK Telecoms Regulator Revokes 500+ Ham Radio Licenses Not Revalidated by Holders


Ofcom, the UK telecommunications regulator, has revoked the first batch of Amateur Radio licenses that had not been “revalidated” by their holders. Ham licenses in the UK used to expire annually, but in 2006, Ofcom began issuing lifetime licenses, which remain in effect until the agency takes specific action to revoke them. Ofcom has canceled some Amateur Radio licenses in the past, when the licensee has specifically requested, but revocation is a different administrative process altogether. Ofcom announced earlier this fall that it would begin revoking the licenses of those who had not revalidated their ham tickets, as UK regulations require; 529 licenses were in the initial batch.

Ofcom’s revocation procedure for the first group of revocations took about 7 weeks, from the initial announcement to the revocations on December 4. A formal appeal process is in place, but Ofcom reported that no one has taken advantage of it so far.

Some estimates have suggested that the number of unvalidated Amateur Radio licenses might number in the tens of thousands, but the actual figure won’t be known until Ofcom has completed its work on the project, which is said to be time consuming and labor intensive. It could be some time before the backlog is cleared.

To revoke a “wireless telegraphy” license, Ofcom must notify the licensee of the reasons for which it proposes to revoke the license, specify a period for the license holder to respond; decide whether to revoke the license; and notify the license holder of its decision within 1.

Ofcom reported that at the end of November, 83,951 Amateur Radio licenses were on the books.