Using unlicensed radios a costly exercise | ACMA


27 June, 2014 10:28 AM


Using unlicensed radios a costly exercise

By Editor


Two Melbourne-based security companies have received combined penalties in excess of $10,000 for allegedly using and possessing unlicensed radiocommunications devices. An ACMA investigation found that the companies were operating unlicensed radiocommunications devices in the 400 MHz band on frequencies used by emergency service organisations. 

The companies have paid penalties in lieu of prosecution (section 315 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992) for alleged contraventions of sections 46 and 47 of the Act. 

The ACMA has been looking closely at activity in the 400 MHz band to check that the changes arising from our recent review are implemented smoothly. These changes include:

  • adopting 12.5 kHz channels throughout the narrowband channel raster (with advice on channel-splitting for 6.25 kHz if required)
  • realigning segment boundaries
  • restructuring 450–470 MHz to accommodate a 10 MHz duplex frequency split. 

Segments were also set aside to be used exclusively for federal, state and territory government purposes. More information is available here.

A person must only operate a radiocommunications device as authorised under a class, apparatus or spectrum licence. Vital services can be adversely affected by harmful interference if a device is operated on an incorrect frequency. Maximum penalties that a court can impose for the unlicensed operation or possession of a radiocommunications device are significant. Individuals face up to two years imprisonment and companies can be fined up to $255,000 (sections 46 and 47 of the Act).

The ACMA actively monitors the 400 MHz band and take issues of non-compliance seriously.