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FCC eliminates GMRS regulatory fee

The FCC has eliminated the regulatory fee required to obtain a license for the GMRS.

In a Report and Order released May 21, 2015 as part of the FCC's notice of proposed regulatory fees for fiscal year 2015, the commission issued a Report and Order to eliminate the regulatory fee for the General Mobile Radio Service effective this year.

The fee, which was previously assessed at $5 per year, added $25 to the total cost of a GMRS license, which has a term of five years. While it does not eliminate the cost of a license altogether, the complete elimination of the regulatory fee brings the total cost of a General Mobile Radio Service license from $90 down to $65.

According to the FCC, the fee simply wasn't worth the cost. in the Report and Order, the commission stated:

"After analyzing the costs of processing fee payments for GMRS, we conclude that the
Commission's cost of collecting and processing this fee exceeds the payment amount of $25. Our costs have increased over time and now that the costs exceed the amount of the regulatory fee, the increased relative administrative cost supports eliminating this regulatory fee category."

The GMRS license required two fees, the application fee and the FCC regulatory fee. The total cost of a GMRS license has risen through the years, mostly due to automatic, scheduled increases in the application fee. In 2014 the total cost of a GMRS license rose again, from $85 to $90. The cost of a GMRS license is currently greater than the cost of most higher end GMRS radios for which the license is required to operate, and more than double the cost of an entry level radio.

The disproportionately high cost of GMRS licensing compared to other types of radio service licenses and to the GMRS radio equipment itself has been a growing complaint among GMRS users, and is a primary reason why many who are aware of the license requirement do not purchase one.

The FCC, acknowledging the problem, gave it as another reason to remove the fee. "Once eliminated, these licensees will no longer be financially burdened with such payments and the Commission will no longer incur these administrative costs that exceed the fee payments.", the commission added in the report.

This is not the first time the FCC has considered the costs and caveats of licensing the GMRS. In 2010, the commission proposed to do away with the requirement for individual licensing altogether and instead license by rule. However, backlash from the community of licensed GMRS users helped stall the decision and as the FCC has since noted on their web site, "the proposal is still pending".

Is the elimination of the GMRS regulatory fee the beginning of the end of the individual GMRS license requirement? If not, will the application fee remain and continue to rise automatically on its own until it even surpasses the previous $90 fee?

Tell us what you think. Enter your comments below.

75 thoughts on “FCC eliminates GMRS regulatory fee”

  • Jim

    The Government would charge for air if they could get away with it, Someone will have to explain it to me with paper and crayons I suppose. No license for CB 4 watts+, GMRS and FRS share the freq, but it seems to be about power. its like you have to wear a seatbelt but you don't have to wear a motorcycle helmet in some states, I mean seriously! who thinks this stuff up!

  • Bill

    There are some with more money than brains...I on the other hand take responsibility for how GRMS radios are used. The no fee is makes sense. It's an Adults responsibility to ensure they are properly used. Buying the GRMS as kids toys is simply an adult's lack of common sense use.. I have kids that were brought up on common sense and responsibility and I understand not every parent do this. But to punish the responsible people for the irresponsible ones is not fair. When will we have a final decesion?

  • Larry A Brechner

    Just did a test application for a GMRS license (I already have an FRN) and it still has a $70 fee.

  • Mel KK6TMN

    It is likely they are telling the truth. If the radio is 2 watts or less on all channels then it is now considered an FRS radio. Google "new 2017 rule changes FRS/GMRS."

  • Allen

    I just bought a set of Cobra radios. Reading instructions in the small print I see a license is required. I called cobra and was told the licensing requirement was deleted last year. However, I don't see any thing anywhere. Cobra should be cited for giving out that information.

  • Thomas

    In Texas, you can only use a wireless communication device while driving if you assess using a device that requires an FCC license. Simply put you can't use your cell phone, but a radio communication device is only an exemption if you're licensed to use it... Since I use these "bubble pack" radios to talk between friends while driving (separate vehicles), if one of gets pulled over, the fact that devices are under the use of an FCC license will allow any ticket for not using a "hands free device" to be readily dismissed.

  • Ralph KE5DXI, WQCE854
    Ralph KE5DXI, WQCE854 March 21, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    If the FCC hadn't let all these company's put GMRS freq in their FRS radios I really wouldn't mine paying for a license. I do mine when most of the traffic I hear is some kids making all kinds noise, mostly after Christmas. in the last few weeks I'm starting to hear others with a repeater but I haven't heard anyone use a call.

  • Papa

    I remember back in the 70's my old call sign from my CB.. and I remember putting a texas star watt linear in my pickup and the cobra 29 was peaked.. I NEVER worried about the fcc then and I still don't and for a set of talkies that cost me 20 bux and put out 2 watts its crazy to think I'm going to pay 90 bux for something I might use a few times a year for camping or a road trip.. the FCC has never enforced this stuff and I'll take my chances.. I have no doubts there are 1000's of people that buy these radios and never even realize they are supposed to be licensed.. the guy that sold em to me on ebay didnt mention it and the cashier at walmart didn't either. *shrugs

  • Dan

    i just renewed my gmrs and the cost was 70.00 for 10 years..i guess it's better then 95..i just paid it and went about my day..cant not pay it..then i would be on frs..lol

  • Tom

    I just received a pair of GMRS radios for Christmas to use while hinting and fishing. If FCC thinks I'm going to spend money on a license to use these radios, they are sadly mistaken.

  • You are good man! LOL......stay on em!

  • Bruce E Weight

    I feel that the FCC should do something like charge $25.00 for 5 years $50.00 for 10 years or $75.00 for a lifetime family license fee. This would discourage some but not all abusers. Probably all in all we pay so many freaking taxes that they should throw this one on the table and use the ULS System so that folks can apply and update their information up to date as necessary. My license ran out in 2008 and the radios are ??? but on family trips which is what I got them for they were handy in some instances. I would love to have them available again for travel and emergencies. My license number is still on the website and I believe can be re-activated by paying the fees again New number ?? but in any case my vote would be to remove the fees and have people required to keep their licenses and information up to date on the web site. Don't worry about those who paid their fees because even if I had just updated mine I could care less. Get over it Life is never fair just take the good things as they come and have fun. Nail the idiots with large fines and add that to help the system run.

  • J.Mailhiot

    Ill I want is to be able to talk across town, or get just a few more miles then 1.2 when out in the filed. I have rules when I use the GRMS band to pay 70 bucks for how much I use the frequency I run is just ridicules. when they lower it to say 25 bucks at lest then maybe pay it but inmo its another gov tax on a working man making under 30k a year

  • I wouldn't mind as much if the non-licensed GMRS violators were punished, but no one is looking for them. We pay $70 just to say we're licensed. Typical gov service.

  • My GMRS license came up for renewal and the FCC site said it was $70. Nope, will use it without a license. Just another tax.

  • Kris

    We will be travelling with two vehicles - a 26' UHAUL truck, followed by a pickup pulling a camper trailer. All we want is hands free option using two-way radios between us, so we can let each other know if we run into trouble, or need to pull off highway. Do I need to purchase license just for this purpose? Any help and advice from experienced people would be most welcome. Thanks in advance, Kris

  • Larry

    U people need to get a realty check. Ham radio license fees. Give me a break. Gmrs should be fee to. The FCC is not enfirxung either bands. All these opinions here are worth what u pay to get them. NOTHING

  • Richard J. Cassato
    Richard J. Cassato March 27, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Now that I have a TYT MD390 that is GMRS capable. I'm considering renewing a very very old GMRS license. I think that either the FCC or an independent organization should keep track of users like on DMR and D Star. I think it should be free, however costs are what they are for labor so up to $25.00 for10 years for administration fees would be ok.

  • Lynn Parker

    I agree with Sammie Smith. The fee for an amateur license is only $15. How is the higher cost for a GMRS license justified? A license fee and a test of knowledge similar to the amateur radio license would be appropriate and enforceable.

    • Rusty

      Lynn, you are misinformed - there is no fee paid to the FCC for an Amateur License...The fee goes to the independent testing group for materials/costs which can be up to $15 but, some groups charge less; the group I belonged to was only interested in getting folks into the hobby and only charged $5.

  • Rick

    Just for clarification, the legal limit for CB is 4 watts. The GMRS is not intended for commercial use. Although more power helps, it isn't the only factor in determining range. For more information, our GMRS Radio Range Chart provides realistic numbers on range.


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