25 August 2005 | Anusha Bradley
RFID licence fees may be scrapped after the UK communications regulator Ofcom launched a consultation on making the technology available free of charge to supply chain users.
Currently anyone developing or testing the technology has to pay an annual fee of £50 for every site that uses it.
The European Conference of Telecommunications and Postal Administrations recommended last year that RFID be made free of charge to encourage further adoption.
Ofcom is now seeking to allow RFID users to utilise the standard 865-868MHz radio frequency without payment.
René de Sousa, senior procurement specialist at CIPS, said: "This can only be to the benefit of a more integrated use of technology and increase business efficiency and effectiveness."
He added that a Europe-wide exemption from fees would also aid the technology's take-up.
David Lyon, business manager for RFID standards body EPCglobal, said it would make trials cheaper and easier. "It's an administration and cost headache to get a licence," he said.
Tesco said it had anticipated the move and was already using the standard for its RFID trial.
Chris Hopper, marketing manager at RFID printer manufacturer Printronix, said the plan would help to close the gap in adoption between Europe and the US. "Legislative uncertainty has been one of the primary barriers to adoption."
Ofcom's consultation period runs until 12 September. Those wishing to take part should visit www.ofcom.org.uk