There are two types of organisations that can provide telecommunications services to the public - carriers and carriage service providers (CSPs).
The owner of a network unit (cable or wireless facility) which is used to supply carriage services, for example telephony or internet, to the public , must hold a carrier licence. Licensed carriers provide the infrastructure on which carriage and content services are provided to the public. A nominated carrier declaration allows the owner of a network unit to delegate its obligations, under a carrier licence, to another licensed carrier (i.e. the nominated carrier). The nominated carrier is legally responsible for the licence obligations.
The ACMA may issue a trial certificate for a specified network unit for the purpose of trailing the technical and commercial viability of services. The certificate exempts the owner from the obligation to hold a carrier licence for up to six months. This period may be extended for a further 6 months by application. At the trials conclusion the owner of the network unit(s) must either apply for a carrier license or decommission the network unit(s).
CSPs use, but do not own, a telecommunications network unit used to provide carriage services to the public.
Application forms for carrier licence, nominated carrier declaration and trial certificates are available below. CSPs do not require a carrier licence, but are required to comply with a range of obligations set out in Schedule 2 of the Telecommunications Act 1997.
Persons wishing to apply for a carrier licence, a nominated carrier declaration, trial certificate, or operate as service provider are urged to familiarise themselves with the provisions of the Telecommunications Act 1997 and the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999. They should also be aware that a number of Commonwealth Acts impose charges on carriers, and that any activities associated with telecommunications may be constrained by the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and the Radiocommunications Act 1992, as well as by other Commonwealth, State or Territory legislation.
Further information on the obligations applicable to carriers and service providers is set out in the guidance documentation below.
In addition, there are specific obligations that operators of wireless local area networks (WLANs) need to be aware of.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has responsibility for administering the carrier licensing regime. Queries concerning the carrier licensing regime should be referred to the Telecommunications Licensing, Numbering and Subcables Section. The ACMA maintains an electronic register of carrier licences and nominated carrier declarations it has issued, which is available below
- Guide to carrier licence and nominated carrier declaration
- Guide to service provider obligations
- Guide to a trial certificate - word or PDF
- Fact Sheet - Carrier and service provider regulation
- Fact Sheet - Disclosure requirements under Part 13 of the Telecommunications Act 1997
- Know your obligations (A booklet for Carriers and Carriage Service Providers)
You can also browse:
- Register of Licensed Carriers & Nominated Carrier Declarations
- Telecommunications (Carrier Licence Application Charge) Determination 2012
- Telecommunications (Nominated Carrier Declaration Application Charge) Determination 2012
- Telecommunications (Amounts of Annual Charge) Determination 2007 No 2
The infringement notice system applies to certain civil penalty provisions, for example a breach of the CSG benchmarks can result in an infringement notice of $990,000. More information is available on our Infringement notices page.