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The General Equipment Rules

Know the rules for supplying technical equipment.

Changes made to the Radiocommunications Act 1992 about equipment regulations

The Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act) was amended by the Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment (Reform and Modernisation) Act 2020 (the Modernisation Act).

The Modernisation Act has changed some provisions for supplying equipment. These include:

  • introducing the term ‘interim ban’
  • updating the definition of ‘label’ to include QR codes
  • repealing Part 4 of the Act and replacing it with a new Part 4 Equipment
  • repealing section 301 of the Act, which restricted supply of cellular mobile repeaters (also known as mobile phone repeaters)
  • introducing powers for the ACMA to create equipment rules, which can be used to:
    • keep parts of the existing arrangements
    • set up standards for equipment
    • enforce obligations or prohibitions for equipment
    • establish a permit scheme so we can issue, vary or cancel a permit
    • regulate the supply of cellular mobile repeaters.

In June 2021, the ACMA made the Radiocommunications Equipment (General) Rules 2021 (the General Equipment Rules) under the Act. The General Equipment Rules are designed to enforce the existing standards and labelling notices that were saved as equipment rules, allow the ACMA to issue permits  for possession, operation or supply of non-standard devices and/or unlabelled devices and regulate the supply of cellular mobile repeaters. 

Subsequently, the ACMA has repealed the Radiocommunications (Compliance Labelling – Electromagnetic Radiation) Notice 2014 (the EME Labelling Notice) and the Radiocommunications (Electromagnetic Radiation – Human Exposure) Standard 2014 (the Human Exposure Standard).

Our equipment supply regulation relating to EME is now specified in the General Equipment Rules. 

All other existing standards and labelling notices made under the Act remain in force as if they had been made as equipment rules. Suppliers will need to ensure they comply with the relevant requirements for their equipment.

ACMA’s powers under the General Equipment Rules

The Radiocommunications Equipment (General) Rules 2021 (the General Equipment Rules) allow the ACMA to:

  • enforce the existing standards and labelling notices
  • issue permits that allow the possession, operation or supply of non-standard devices and/or unlabelled equipment
  • regulate the supply of cellular mobile repeaters.

Permits

The General Equipment Rules includes a new permit scheme, which allows us to issue permits for possession, operation or supply of non-standard devices and/or unlabelled equipment.

Exempt repeaters

We can declare a cellular mobile repeater to be exempt after assessing an application from a carrier. Find out more in Schedule 1 to the General Equipment Rules.

When we declare a repeater to be exempt, we will publish information about it on our website, including:

  • the brand name
  • the model number
  • an image
  • the carrier that requested the exemption.

Consumers will be able to review the list to make sure they are making a legitimate purchase.

This new provision means carriers will have an alternative mechanism to allow the supply of cellular mobile repeaters.

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