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Apparatus licences

Find out about apparatus licences including what they are for, who can get one, and how to apply.

What an apparatus licence is for

An apparatus licence lets you operate the transmitters or receivers that you get a licence for.  

You can only use them at the place or in the area we specify on your licence. 

An apparatus licence may be:

  • an assigned licence
  • a non-assigned licence

Some apparatus licences can only be assigned licences.

You cannot use or get a licence for prohibited equipment.

Who can get an apparatus licence

We only give apparatus licences to a:

  • person
  • government
  • incorporated company

Usually only one person can be named as the licence holder. In special circumstances, we may allow more than one person.

A person cannot be:

  • a trust (only a trustee for the trust)
  • an unincorporated association
  • a superannuation fund
  • a business name

Licence period

We may issue an apparatus licence for up to 20 years. We issue most apparatus licences for one year.

We review requests for longer licences on an individual basis. Further details about apparatus licence periods is available in Our approach to radcomms licensing and allocation information paper.

We will send you 2 notices when your licence is due for renewal. The first will be a validation notice that reminds you your licence renewal is coming up. It gives you the chance to make changes to your licence before the renewal. 

After the validation notice, we will send you a renewal notice. You will need to pay this if you wish to keep your licence. We will not make any changes to the licence, or process the surrender or transfer of a licence during the renewal period.

You will need to pay the renewal notice in full before changes will be made. You will need to take action because renewal is not automatic.

Once you receive a licence, we will not cancel it unless you:

Our policy on apparatus licences says why we may refuse to give you or renew an apparatus licence.

How to apply for an apparatus licence

To apply for an assigned licence, contact an accredited person.

You can apply to us for a non-assigned licence. Choose the licence you need from the list below, then download the application form on the licence page.

We will issue you a licence if your application is successful. 

You will need to pay a licence fee.

List of apparatus licences

There are:

  • 16 transmitter licences
  • 5 receiver licences

The licence you need depends on the equipment you want to use, and your reason for using it.

Transmitter licences

You must have a licence to use a transmitter, unless the device is covered under a class licence

Aeronautical licence

License a station on the ground that communicates with aircraft. 

Aircraft licence

License radio equipment that is fixed to an aircraft.

Amateur apparatus licence

For hobby radio and technical experimentation. 

Area-wide licence

Licence to operate multiple radiocommunications devices for any service in a specific geographic area and frequency band. 

Broadcasting licence

Transmit TV and radio programs to the public.

Defence licence 

Only for Defence activities. 

Earth licence

License an earth station that communicates with a space station.

Fixed licence

License transmitters that are in fixed positions.

Land mobile licence

License fixed to mobile or mobile to mobile transmitters. 

Low Power Open Narrowcasting (LPON) licences

Licences for niche radio broadcasting services.

Maritime coast licence

License radio equipment that uses maritime frequencies on land.

Maritime ship licence

License radio equipment that uses maritime frequencies on water.

Outpost licence

Offer emergency radio services in remote places. 

Public telecommunications service

License a station that provides a mobile telecom service.

Radiodetermination licence

License equipment that uses radio waves to find or track objects.

Scientific licence

Research or test radio waves and radiocommunications equipment.

Space licence

License a space station that communicates with an earth station. 

Receiver licences

You only need to licence a receiver if you want an assigned frequency.

Defence receive licence 

Only for Defence activities.

Earth receive licence

License a receiver in an earth station.

Fixed receive licence

License a receiver in a fixed station.

Major coast receive licence

License a receiver in a maritime coast station.

Space receive licence

License a receiver in a space station.


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