This page should be read in conjunction with the general information on compliance and labelling requirements available on the Supplying products in Australia page.
Mobile phones, particularly smart phones, offer multiple functions in addition to simple telephony. Suppliers of mobile phones and the associated equipment (such as battery chargers) must ensure the phone and associated equipment complies with:
Telecommunications regulatory arrangements in regard to performance requirements (such as accessing emergency services)
Electromagnetic energy (EME) regulatory arrangements in regard to transmission power levels
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) regulatory arrangements (where the device is capable of operating in modes other than transmission)
Radiocommunications regulatory arrangements (where the device includes inbuilt Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capability).
Suppliers of mobile phones need to identify the applicable standards for the device in each of the applicable regulatory arrangements and maintain the appropriate records to demonstrate compliance with each standard.
The operation of a mobile phone is also subject to the technical conditions (including frequency ranges) contained in the apparatus or spectrum licence that authorises the relevant mobile service.
Note: Associated equipment such as battery chargers will also have to comply with the EMC regulatory arrangements.
Telecommunications regulatory arrangements
The obligations for all telecommunications items (including mobile phones) are detailed in the Telecommunications (Labelling Notice for Customer Equipment and Customer Cabling) Instrument 2015 (the TLN).
Mobile phones are subject to the following ACMA technical standards:
EME regulatory arrangements
The EME regulatory arrangements are specified in the Radiocommunications (Compliance Labelling – Electromagnetic Radiation) Notice 2014 (the EME LN).
The arrangements mandate the Radiocommunications (Electromagnetic Radiation - Human Exposure) Standard 2014 (the Human Exposure Standard), which adopts limits specified in the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields – 3kHz to 300 GHz (2002) (the ARPANSA Standard).
The types of tests that must be conducted to establish that a device complies with the Human Exposure Standard depend on the device’s normal position during use (that is, in close proximity to the human ear, 20 cm or less from the human body and more than 20 cm from the human body). Some devices, including smart phones, can be used in multiple positions and are required to demonstrate EME compliance against each of the applicable positions.
If a particular device is capable of operation in simultaneous multi-band transmission mode, EME/specific absorption rate (SAR) testing must be conducted in this mode.
EMC regulatory arrangements
Many phones have functionality that does not need the 2G/3G or 4G transmitter enabled. Such phones can work in ‘flight mode’ where all internal transmitters are disabled. These devices are subject to testing against the requirements of the EMC regulatory arrangements.
The EMC regulatory arrangements are specified in the Radiocommunications Labelling (Electromagnetic Compatibility) Notice 2017.
For mobile phones, the applicable EMC standard will be any one of the following:
European - EN 55022 / EN 55032
Australia/New Zealand - AS/NZS CISPR 22 / CISPR 32
International Standard - CISPR 22 / CISPR 32.
For the current version, check the EMC Standards list on the ACMA website.
For power supplies, battery chargers or other ancillary electrical/electronic equipment, the applicable EMC standards will be one of the CISPR 11, CISPR 22 or CISPR 32 suite of standards.
Radiocommunications regulatory arrangements
If a mobile phone has an integrated wireless LAN and/or Bluetooth transmitter, it will need to comply with the radiocommunications regulatory requirements specified in the Radiocommunications (Compliance Labelling – Devices) Notice 2014.
Radiocommunications licensing requirements
All radiocommunications transmitters must be operated in Australia under the authority of, and in accordance with, the requirements of a radiocommunications licence issued by the ACMA.
Mobile phones (that is, 3G/4G) must be operated in accordance with the applicable apparatus or class licence under which the relevant mobile service is authorised.
For mobile phones with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth transmitters, the relevant licence is the Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices) Class Licence 2015 (the LIPD Class Licence).
More information is available on the LIPD class licence page.
More information on spectrum allocation for mobile carriers is available at the About spectrum licences page.
Advice for suppliers on equipment compliance and labelling is available on the ACMA website.
If you have any questions about the regulatory arrangements, please contact the ACMA's Customer Service Centre on 1300 850 115 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: this page is intended as a guide only and should not be relied on as legal advice or regarded as a substitute for legal advice in individual cases.