The ACMA

Product supply and compliance

Commonly supplied equipment

Available spectrum for wireless audio transmitters

The information on this page is for professional users and suppliers of wireless audio transmitters and outlines the available spectrum from 1 January 2015.

For 'plug and play' users, read our fact sheets that provide information on what spectrum is available on an area-by-area basis.

What is happening?

Most wireless audio transmitters (for example, wireless microphones, in-ear monitoring systems, public announcement systems and musical pick-ups) currently operate in the 694–820 MHz frequency range. 

From 1 January 2015, wireless microphones and audio transmitters must not operate in this frequency range. 

Why are these changes necessary?

Wireless audio transmitters use spectrum to operate. Spectrum is a valuable public asset that is needed for a range of purposes and devices—such as mobile phones, television channels, the internet and wireless audio transmitters. 

Spectrum is divided into frequency ranges called megahertz (MHz). Different frequency ranges are used for different purposes. Depending on what the spectrum is used for, users may have to pay fees and other ongoing charges to use the spectrum. Unlike other types users, wireless audio transmitters users do not pay any fees or changes to use the spectrum.

In 2010, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy declared the 694-820 MHz frequency range as the ‘digital dividend’ to be used for new communication services from 1 January 2015.

In the lead up to this date, analog television services are being switched off, and digital television services operating in 694–820 MHz are being ‘restacked’ so they operate below 694 MHz. This process will affect what spectrum is available for wireless audio transmitter use in your area.

So, before 1 January 2015 you need to check whether you can re-tune your wireless audio transmitter so that it uses a different frequency range. If you cannot retune, you will need to buy new equipment for use after 31 December 2014. Be sure to buy equipment that does not operate in the 694–820 MHz frequency range.

What spectrum is available for use from 1 January 2015?

Wireless audio transmitters can use spectrum in the following frequency ranges:

Item number^

Available frequency range (MHz) (lower limit exclusive, upper limit inclusive)

Maximum Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power

Notes

(Unless otherwise stated, all frequency ranges listed can be used from 1 January 2015.)

28/29

520–694

100 mW

Television broadcasting services are the primary users of this range. Wireless audio transmitter use is limited to the unused television channels located throughout this range. This means the availability of spectrum is different on an area-by-area basis.  

From 1 January 2015 onwards, wireless audio transmitters must not use 694-820 MHz.

520–694 MHz

This is the main frequency range that wireless audio transmitters can use from 1 January 2015. Within this range, 520–526 MHz is available in all areas (metropolitan, regional and remote). 

30

1785–1800

100 mW

From 1 January 2015, this is the main frequency range for wireless audio transmitter use. Spectrum in this frequency range is available in all areas (metropolitan, regional and remote).

27

174–230

50 mW

The 174–230 MHz frequency range is broadly available in regional and remote areas.

Any transmitter

These frequency ranges may also be used for wireless audio transmitters. 

The ACMA is aware of wireless audio transmitters in the market that can operate in these frequency ranges.

 

The 88-108 MHz frequency range is limited to wireless audio transmitters and auditory assistance transmitters.

20

915–928

3 mW

21

2400–2483.5

10 mW

22

5725–5875

25 mW

26

88–108

10 μW

Digital transmitters

58

915–928

1 W

59

2400–2483.5

4 W

60

5725–5850

4 W

^This refers to the item number given for each frequency range that is listed in Schedule 1 of the Low Interference Potential Devices Class Licence. Further information, including any operating limits and conditions, for each frequency range can be found in Schedule 1.

There is also a group of frequency ranges located between 10 and 400 MHz that have been used for wireless audio applications such as wireless intercoms, headsets in fast food outlets, hearing aids and toy microphones. There is limited equipment available on the market that could be suitable for such niche applications. Details of these ranges can be found in items 1–21 in Schedule 1 of the Low Interference Potential Devices Class Licence.

What are the laws for the use of wireless microphones?

Anyone using wireless audio transmitters is bound by the rules set out in the Low Interference Potential Devices (LIPD) Class Licence.

As LIPD class licensees do not have to pay fees to use the spectrum they operate on a ‘no interference’ and ‘no protection’ basis. Users must ensure that their devices do not cause interference to other radiocommunications devices and they have no protection from changes that may affect them.

The LIPD class licence also sets out what spectrum can be used for wireless audio transmitters. From 1 January 2015, wireless audio transmitters must not operate in the 694–820 MHz frequency range.

Will there be more frequency ranges available in the future?

The ACMA regularly reviews and monitors the suitability of spectrum arrangements—both in Australia and overseas—and technology developments. We’ll consult with stakeholders on any proposals to change the spectrum availability for wireless audio transmitters.

Where can I go for more information?

For information about your wireless audio transmitter, it is best for you to contact your supplier.

If you have any questions, contact us at freqplan@acma.gov.au

Last updated: 12 February 2016

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