Apparatus licence fees | ACMA

Apparatus licence fees

NOTE: Commercial broadcasting tax arrangements
There are new taxation arrangements for apparatus licences associated with a commercial broadcasting service. Find out more about the commercial broadcasting tax arrangements

Apparatus licence fee schedule

The Apparatus licence fee schedule April 2019 sets out current fees.

All apparatus licence taxes are adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), to compensate for the effects of inflation.

You can download the full schedule and component sections in MS Word format.

Document part



Apparatus licence fee
schedule—30 April 2019

Full schedule

1.4 MB

Types of fees

There are two types of fees applicable to apparatus licences:

  • administrative charges to recover the direct costs of spectrum management
  • annual licence taxes to recover the indirect costs of spectrum management and provide incentives for efficient spectrum use.

The apparatus licence taxes are calculated based on spectrum location, geographical location, amount of spectrum occupied and coverage area.

The annual licence tax is applied to:

  • each chargeable spectrum access (with minor exceptions—see Division 6 of the fee schedule) of an assigned licence
  • each licence for non-assigned licences.

A spectrum access is the right to use specified radiofrequency spectrum, and requires frequency coordination before issue. Each spectrum access specifies the allowable bandwidth, frequency, geographical site and power of the transmission. All transmit spectrum accesses are chargeable. Receive spectrum accesses are only chargeable if there are no transmit spectrum accesses on the same licence.

Detailed information about fees is provided in the Apparatus licence fee schedule 2018.

How fees are charged

Apparatus licence-holders are charged different fees depending on whether the licence is newly issued or renewed, and the licence type. The following table summarises how fees are charged and payment methods available.

Licence Period

Issue charge/renewal fees


Method of payment

One year or less

Applicable issue fee for the licence type

Applicable tax for licence type

> Full licence fee is paid upfront at issue of the licence

Greater than one year


Applicable taxes for licence type

> Pay the fee upfront at issue of licence, or
> By annual instalment*

* The licence fee is the same as for a series of one-year licences, but is paid in annual instalments. In the case where an apparatus licence-holder defaults on one of the annual instalment payments, the licensee is invoiced for the remainder of the licence fees upfront.

Payment of licence fees

Fees are to be paid within 45 days of the date on the notification to the applicant. Where the correct payment does not accompany an application, the ACMA will advise the applicant of the correct amount. If applicants fail to pay the fees by the due date, the ACMA may refuse the application and make the frequency available for other services. The ACMA will advise applicants of their review and appeal rights for any decision to refuse an application.

Renewal of licences

The ACMA endeavours to notify licensees when their licence renewal fees are due. However, the licensee is ultimately responsible for renewing their licence on time.

Exemptions, concessions and refunds

Individuals and organisations may be eligible for an exemption from or concession on the payment of licence fees. For further details, see Appendix E of the Apparatus licence fee schedule April 2019.

Licensees who advise the ACMA in writing that they wish to surrender a licence are entitled to a pro rata refund of the tax component of the total fee paid for the licence. Amounts less than $30 are not refundable.

The use of the Hierarchical Cell Identification Scheme (HCIS) for estimating population

Previously the population to be applied in the tax calculation for a Public Mobile Telecommunications Service (PMTS Class B) licence’s geographic area has been based on the population of the local government area (LGA) where a radiocommunications device is authorised to operate.

For other radiocommunications matters the ACMA is adopting the Australian Spectrum Map Grid (ASMG) as the basis for defining geographic areas. The ASMG incorporates a hierarchical cell identification scheme (HCIS) naming system which simplifies describing geographic areas in terms of ASMG cells. The ACMA is now calculating taxes for PMTS Class B licences based on the HCIS naming system.

Further information about the HCIS framework and a procedure for accessing population data for HCIS blocks is provided at Appendix G of the Apparatus licence fee schedule. Population data for each of the HCIS cells and blocks can be found here

Apparatus licence fee density area maps

High density

Sydney/Wollongong (283 kb)
Melbourne/Geelong (326 kb)
Brisbane/Gold Coast (295 kb)

Medium density

Perth (222 kb)
Adelaide (220 kb)
Newcastle (243 kb)

Low density

East Australia (348 kb)
Western Australia (323 kb)
Tasmania (290 kb)
Darwin (285 kb)

Remote density


Current spatial boundaries for spectrum density areas are available in a format suitable for use in geographical information system (GIS) software—Shapefile (ZIP), Placemark (KMZ).

Apparatus licence fee legislation

The following Acts of parliament and determinations impact on how the ACMA charges for use of radiofrequency spectrum:

Contact Information

Economics and Market Analysis Section:

ACMA Customer Service Centre:

Last updated: 02 September 2019