Public Telecommunication Service licence - Guidelines | ACMA

Public Telecommunication Service licence - Guidelines


This information paper provides details of the licensing arrangements applicable to the public telecommunications service (PTS) licence type.

What is a public telecommunications service (PTS) licence?

A PTS licence is a type of apparatus licence that is issued for a service that consists of 1 or more stations that are operated for the provision of a public mobile telecommunications service (PMTS).

PTS licences also authorise stations that are operated to provide a carriage service to mobile devices where the service may not meet all the requirements of a public mobile telecommunications service. An example of such a station is a femtocell (low power station) deployed on the customer side of a telecommunications network boundary and provisioned via a fixed broadband service.

The PTS licence type and its various licence sub-types are defined in the Radiocommunications (Interpretation) Determination 2015.

Licensing options

Under the PTS licence type, the following licensing options are available:

  • PMTS class B - authorising land stations that operate in the following paired frequency ranges:
    • 825-845 / 870-890 MHz
    • 890-915 / 935-960 MHz
    • 1710-1785 / 1805-1880 MHz
    • 1920-1980 / 2110-2170 MHz; and
  • PMTS class C - authorising stations that are located on an aircraft (except in specified circumstances being on-ground operation for testing and maintenance).

The PMTS Class A and Public Access Cordless Telephone Service (PACTS) licences are no longer issued by the ACMA.

Radiocommunications devices (including mobile telephone handsets) associated with PMTS class B and PMTS class C stations are authorised by the Radiocommunications (Cellular Mobile Telecommunications Devices) Class Licence 2014.

Licence conditions

The operation of radiocommunications equipment authorised by a PTS licence is subject to:

  • conditions specified in the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Radcomm Act), including an obligation to comply with the Radcomm Act;
  • a condition that any radiocommunication device operated under the licence must comply with all the standards applicable to it;
  • conditions specified in any determinations made by the ACMA under paragraph 107(1)(f) of the Radcomm Act
  • conditions specified in the licence under paragraph 107(1)(g) of the Radcomm Act; and
  • any further conditions imposed by the ACMA under section 111 of the Radcomm Act.

Generally, conditions are applied to licences to enable users to communicate effectively with a minimum of interference. All conditions relating to a licence must be complied with.

Licence conditions determinations

The ACMA may determine, by written instrument, conditions relating to apparatus licences. These conditions are known as Licence Conditions Determinations (LCDs).

The Radiocommunications Licence Condition (Apparatus Licence) Determination 2015 contains conditions of licence that are common to all apparatus licences.

The Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (PTS Licence) Determination 2013 contains conditions of licence that apply to some PTS licences. These conditions include the type of communications permitted, with whom the operator is permitted to communicate and relevant equipment specifications.

An advisory note is automatically attached to licences where an LCD is in force. The note references the applicable LCD.

The licence conditions imposed through the relevant LCD may change from time to time. Licensees should ensure that they have informed themselves of the current conditions imposed by the ACMA.

Special conditions

Any other conditions of operation which apply to an individual licence but are not included in the LCD, will be printed on the licence under the heading 'Special Conditions'.

An accredited person may ask the ACMA to impose one or more special conditions on the licence according to the circumstances in which the frequency assignments for the licence are made.

Advisory notes

Advisory notes, providing information that may be of interest to a licensee, will be printed on the licence under the heading 'Advisory Notes'.

An accredited person may ask the ACMA to impose one or more advisory notes on the licence according to the circumstances in which the frequency assignments for the licence are made.


Callsigns are a unique series of letters and/or numbers allocated (in accordance with ITU Radio Regulations) where necessary, to a radiocommunications user to identify a station. Callsigns are not issued to PTS licences.


Apparatus licences may be issued for periods varying from one day to up to five years. However, the most common period is one year.

PTS licences are typically issued for periods exceeding one year, with annual licence fee instalments made.

Applying for an apparatus licence

Applications for an apparatus licence may be made to Radiocommunications Licensing and Assignments. Applicants should complete the ACMA form Application for apparatus licence(s) (R057). If frequency assignments are required with this licence, the frequency coordination work may be performed either by the ACMA or an accredited person.

If the work is to be done by the ACMA a form Application for additional station information (R077) should also be submitted with the licence application.

Alternatively if you wish to use the services of an accredited person you should refer to the List of Accredited Persons for contact details. An accredited person will issue you with a frequency assignment certificate and this should be submitted with the licence application to Radiocommunications Licensing and Assignments. Accredited persons are not employed by the ACMA, nor is the ACMA responsible for the work of accredited persons. More information about Accreditation can be found on the ACMA website.

On receiving an application for a PMTS Class C apparatus licence, the ACMA may engage in consultation with telecommunications mobile carriers and the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) if a new system or operational height is proposed to ensure the proposed system (based on technical details supplied by prospective licensees) does not present any safety or interference issues.


Licence fees are set having regard to spectrum location, geographical location, amount of spectrum occupied and coverage area authorised by the licence.

Detailed information about fees is provided in the Apparatus Licence Fee Schedule booklet.

Licence fees exemptions and concessions

Individuals and organisations may be eligible for an exemption or concession from the payment of licence fees. For further information see Licence Fee Exemptions and Concessions.

Transfers of apparatus licences

Apparatus licences may be transferred. Applicants wishing to transfer an apparatus licence should complete and submit to Radiocommunications Licensing and Assignments the form Application for transfer of apparatus licence(s) (R060). Both the transferer and the transferee must sign the transfer form. Applicants are required to pay a transfer charge to cover the ACMA's administrative expenses.

There are a number of limitations on the transfer of apparatus licences. The Radiocommunications (Limitation of Authorisation of Third Party Users and Transfer of Apparatus Licences) Determination 2015 specifies these limitations.

A device authorised by the transferred licence is still required to operate under the same technical conditions (including transmission site) as specified on the original licence.

Third party operation

Licensees may authorise, by written instrument, other persons to operate radiocommunications devices under the apparatus licences. These are known as third party authorisations.

There are a number of limitations on third party authorisations. The Radiocommunications (Limitation of Authorisation of Third Party Users and Transfer of Apparatus Licences) Determination 2015 specifies these limitations.

A person authorised to use a radiocommunications device under a third party authorisation is subject to all of the conditions applicable to that device under the licence.

Further information

If you have any additional queries relating to this, or any, licence type, please contact Radiocommunications Licensing and Assignments, ACMA, Canberra.

Last updated: 26 February 2018