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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.

84 thoughts on “FCC eliminates GMRS regulatory fee”

  • 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.

  • just another hambone. February 11, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Generally speaking, C.B. aka 11m band, at the,legal limit of 5watts and a 102" whip, is limited to around 20 miles, with skip carrying further.
    Comercial GMRS can push that distance easily.

  • Jeff Martin

    As an active licensed Amateur Radio operator I advocate eliminating the GMRS license, and folding the GMRS regulations in with those for FRS. Some of the frequencies are shared, so OTHER THAN THE REASONABLE RESTRICTIONS NEAR THE CANADIAN BORDER I see no issue. Abuse by miscreants should not increase.
    Current GMRS licensees should let go of their resentment at paying in the past. Free is better for everybody, and it saves government expense!

  • Sammie Smith

    If there was any kind of training/testing involved use of a GMRS device then, perhaps, a license would make sense. Since the license requirement is merely a lip service registration of untrained and unregulated individuals, the license requirement is totally useless. There are no enforceable standards for GMRS use and no auditing of user knowledge or skills. There is no purpose to the license.

  • Randi Sanders

    As a trained CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) instructor/member, I expect to work on channel 18.0. CERT is a fully volunteer program sponsored by FEMA. Charging for a license to operate a device that everyone hopes will not be needed adds to the already burdensome costs of properly equipping myself for community emergency response. I strongly favor eliminating this fee.

  • I agree. w4lgw

  • C. Griffin

    Just bought the GMRS license. The price is now $70.
    About the same as taking a couple of kids to the movies or treating a couple friends to lunch. .. Horrific.
    Having said that, I feel the fee is a bit high but the licensing leads to (or should anyway) a much better understanding of the rules and regs.
    Considering what you will pay for a commercial site license and the associated equipment, this is a screaming bargain. And yes you can use these bands for your business. The fact that the FCC made this available and organized it in the first place is another example of why we live in the best country on the planet.
    Stop whining and enjoy what your taxes are paying for.

  • As a ham, I wanted to get my GMRS license as an extra resource, but would be more apt to apply if the fee was, say, $25 payable online with any major card, AND good for TEN YEARS, instead of only 5.

  • NE1LL

    Amateur Radio licenses are indeed free except for club licenses. The VEC's charge an exam fee of free to $15. I have been involved with over 3,000 exams through the Laurel VEC and every exam and license was free. Note only the W5YI and ARRL are club license managers so their fees apply.

  • Rick

    Ray, the cost of the GMRS license was correct when this article was first written in May 2015. The fee went up $5 within the last month. We first reported this fee increase in our article FCC to increase GMRS license application fee posted July 8, 2016.

  • Ray

    The cost of the GMRS license shown here are wrong. I just bought mine and it was $70.00 and I got my license in about 10 hours if not less. One thing is you have to register with FCC first with no cost.
    I like the fact you can run up to 50 watts. With the right antenna you can reach out a good distance.

  • For any penalty to be a deterrent it must be sever, swift and certain. Unfortunately our rules and regulations do not meet this in America, this is to protect our liberties.

  • Jerry King

    The fee should be eliminated or reduced to a nominal level. All of the fears about what would happen if GMRS became an unlicensed service are groundless because GMRS already IS an unlicensed service! Probably 95% of GMRS users do not have licenses, and probably 90% of them don't even know they are supposed to have a license. Whatever is going to happen to GMRS repeaters because of unlicensed users has already happened. Lowering the fee greatly would increase the number of licensed users and provide the FCC with an opportunity to educate users about the proper use of the GMRS service.


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