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The history of the Swedish license fee

The first fee for use of radio equipment was introduced already in 1907. It was the state that issued licenses for radio listeners.

The name Radiotjänst

Already in the 1910's and 1920's, people could listen to Swedish and foreign radio. In 1923, the Swedish Parliament decided to establish a broadcasting network run by the State while the programs would be produced by a separate company. The press, radio industry and Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå (TT, Swedish multimedia news provider), formed AB Radiotjänst, which was given broadcasting license. AB Radiotjänst started their broadcasts on January 1, 1925, sending for a couple of hours every evening over one channel. In 1957, Sveriges Radiokoncernen (Sweden's Radio Group) was formed, in which Sveriges Television was included. They took over the broadcasting license for television and radio, and AB Radiotjänst was laid to rest.


In 1924, Kungliga Telegrafstyrelsen (Royal Telegraph Board) took over this task. The annual fee for a license back then was SEK 3.50, but was raised to SEK 12 the following year, only to be lowered the next by SEK 2. The "10 SEK" license fee applied up until 1951. The license fee was used partly to build up the broadcasting network, partly to program production. Private clubs that experimented with radio broadcasting also received compensation from the license funding. In 1943, an extra license fee was introduced for radios mounted in vehicles such as cars, boats or aeroplanes – the license inspections were made by police together with traffic inspections.


In the middle of the 1950's, television made its breakthrough in Swedish households, especially in connection with the 1958 Soccer World Cup in Stockholm. The TV License was introduced in 1956 and the cost was SEK 25. In the beginning of the 1970's, an extra charge for colour TV was introduced. Both the TV and Radio licenses existed up until the end of the 1970's. Those who only had a radio only had to pay the radio license. Those owning both a TV and radio only had to pay the TV License fee. In 1978, the separate radio fee was removed, as was the extra colour fee in 1990. Ever since, there has been only one kind of TV License fee, for the possession of a TV receiver. At the end of the 1980's, Radiotjänst i Kiruna AB took over the administration and invoicing of the TV License fee from the former Televerket.

In November 2018, the Swedish parliament decided to replace the current radio and TV fee with a general public service fee as of 1 January 2019.

Young people watch TV in 1965

Young people watching TV in 1965. Photo: Bertil S-son Åberg/SVT