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TIO scheme requirements and exemptions

Some carriage service providers are required to join the TIO scheme. You may be exempt if you meet specific requirements.

Who must join the TIO scheme?

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) is an industry-based dispute resolution scheme for small businesses and residential customers of carriers and eligible carriage service providers (CSPs). 

Carriers and eligible CSPs must join the TIO scheme.  You can find information about joining the scheme on the TIO website.

You must join the TIO scheme if you supply or arrange for the supply of:

  • a standard telephone service to residential or small business customers
  • a public mobile telecommunication service
  • access to the internet

You may also be required to join if:

  • you have received a written notice from the ACMA to join the TIO scheme
  • you are a member of a specified class of CSPs that the ACMA has determined must join the TIO scheme

These rules are in the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999.

You are not required to join the TIO scheme if you are not a carrier or CSP. If you are unsure whether you are required to join the TIO scheme, you should seek independent legal advice.

Exemption requests

Carriers and eligible CSPs can request an exemption from the requirement to join the TIO scheme. Exemption requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and must be made through our form.

When considering a request, we may consider:

  • the extent to which you deal with residential customers in the supply of carriage services
  • the extent to which you deal with proprietors of small businesses in the supply of carriage services
  • the potential for complaints under the TIO scheme about services you provide

This list does not limit the matters to which the ACMA may consider. For example, the ACMA may consider if there is the potential for land access disputes under Schedule 3 of the Telecommunication Act 1997.  We may also consider information contained within a carrier licence application when assessing a request for exemption from a carrier. We will also consult with the TIO before deciding.

Any exemption declared by the ACMA may be revoked at any time if circumstances warrant it.

If you are unsure if you have a valid exemption request, you should seek independent legal advice. For other queries, you can email

What should be considered before requesting an exemption?

A request that does not include the required information is incomplete and will not be processed by the ACMA.

In your request for exemption you must include:

  • how you deal with residential customers or small businesses when supplying carriage services
  • the number of residential and small business customers a part of your total customer base
  • a brief description of the carriage services you supply
  • examples of potential complaints under the TIO scheme about services you supply, including any wholesale carriage services
  • detailed information on how you handle potential complaints about carriage services you supply

If you are a carrier, you must also:

  • provide detailed information on your complaints handling processes for complaints and potential complaints resulting from land or building access activities you conduct as a carrier, under either schedule 3 of the Telco Act, or an agreement with the owner or occupier of the land or building

    Declarations for exemption from the TIO scheme

    Organisation Exemption granted
    14 August 2023
    23 May 2023
    27 January 2023
    27 January 2023
    LAB3 Solutions 28 July 2020
    Singtel 16 April 2020
    Oziplex Pty Ltd 26 August 2019
    Concerotel Pty Ltd 28 June 2019
    Chubb Insurance Australia Ltd 22 August 2017
    Grey Cloud Networks Pty Ltd 30 March 2017
    Sunshine Coast Regional Council 5 July 2016
    Solomons Oceanic Cable Company Limited 22 December 2014
    Iridium Australia Licensee Pty Ltd 26 September 2014
    Reach Networks Australia Pty Ltd 4 August 2014
    Newhome Technologies Pty Ltd 15 July 2014
    Eutelsat Asia Pte Ltd 17 March 2014
    O3b Teleport Services (Australia) Pty Ltd 8 November 2013
    Silcar Pty Ltd 3 July 2013
    East West Line Parks Ltd 2 July 2013
    Caprock Communications (Australia) Pty Ltd 20 November 2012
    XO International Inc 13 September 2011
    Victoria Rail Track (trading as VicTrack) 11 November 2008
    SCCL Australia Limited 11 November 2008
    CSC Australia Pty Ltd 11 November 2008
    Intelsat Asia Carrier Services Inc 11 November 2008
    Telenor Mobile Aviation AS 2 April 2007
    Inmarsat Global Limited 2 April 2007
    Ergon Energy Telecommunications Pty Ltd. 19 May 2004
    Southern Cross Telecommunications Pty Ltd 17 July 2001

    If you do not follow the rules

    We monitor the industry and investigate telcos that break the rules.

    If we have reason to believe that you should have joined the TIO scheme and failed to do so, we may commence an investigation.

    If this is the case, we may take enforcement action against you. This could result in a formal warning, direction to comply, an infringement notice, or court proceedings.

    We publish our enforcement outcomes on our website.

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