Applying for apparatus licences | ACMA

Applying for apparatus licences

If you wish to operate a radio device in Australia, the device must be authorised by a radiocommunications licence - either a class licence, an apparatus licence, or a spectrum licence. This is a guide to applying for an apparatus licence.

Apparatus licences are issued to individuals and companies to authorise the operation of specific radio devices, including radio stations, mobile, outpost, amateur radio, broadcast, maritime and aeronautical services. Fees are charged for licences. An overview of the apparatus licence system in Australia will provide you with more detailed information.

Before you apply

Before you complete an application form for an apparatus licence, there are a couple of things you should consider.

In most Australian metropolitan centres, many radio frequency bands are in high demand and it can be difficult to secure the particular radio frequency channel you may require.

To satisfy your communication needs, you should consider the many alternatives to operating your own radio system, including using cable feeds, using available optical fibre networks, and investigating the use of existing radio networks.

How to apply for an apparatus licence

To apply for an apparatus licence:

  1. Determine which apparatus licence type and application form(s) applies to your device.
  2. Complete the application form: Application for apparatus licence(s) (R057) and Additional station information  (R077).
  3. Where the licence fee is for a fixed price, organise the licence fee payment using a cheque or money order payable to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) in Australian dollars, drawn on an Australian bank.
  4. For variable licence fees, the ACMA will advise you of the payment required once the assessment of your application has been completed.
  5. Send the completed application form along with payment of the relevant licence fee to:

        Radiocommunications Licensing and Telecommunications Deployment
        Australian Communications and Media Authority
        PO Box 78
        Belconnen ACT 2616

        Telephone: + 61 2 1300 850 115
        Facsimile: + 61 2 6219 5347

Your application will be assessed and:

  1. if successful, a radiocommunications licence will be issued and returned to the address supplied in the application form

  2. If your application is not successful, you will be contacted and any pre-payment will be refunded. The ACMA may also charge a consideration fee for the assessment of the application, regardless that a licence has not been issued.

Improving your application

While the application forms are simple to complete, it is useful for you to provide the following information in the correct format to enable the ACMA to process your licence application as quickly as possible.

Radio frequency channel

  1. Please provide the actual number of radio frequency channels you require. In the case of a land mobile system, please indicate whether your proposed system is to use a single frequency simplex, or two frequency simplex or duplex configuration.

  2. Where applicable, please advise the radio frequency split between the transmit frequency and the receive frequency.

  3. Identify the tuning range of your radio device, to allow us to pick an alternative channel for you if your requested channel is unavailable.

Emission designation

Please use the current ITU method of describing emissions. If in doubt, please indicate the device bandwidth and type of emission.


It is almost always essential for you to identify the actual location where your transmitter will be operated, ideally to within 10 metres. If your receiver requires protection from interference, you must also specify the location of the receiver.

System diagram

The ACMA recommends you supply a diagram and explanation for every individual system you wish to licence. These are usually enormously helpful in assisting us to quickly understand your radiofrequency needs.

Satellite services

Some satellite operators have already paid a licence fee that covers the operation of all devices used within their system. Other satellite operators have not paid a licence in this way and the uplinks and downlinks which use their system all require a licence. Your satellite operator will be able to advise whether your device requires a licence.

If your satellite service device requires a licence, please provide the following information:

  1. the name of the satellite you are using and your satellite operator

  2. what radio channels you want to use, including emission designator

  3. the number of up/down links you require

  4. whether uplinks will be made from a single earth station or from multiple earth stations, and whether the earth station/s will be fixed or mobile.

Last updated: 17 December 2012