Licence compliance requirements
Radio licences are used nationally and internationally to manage the interaction between radio services and to limit harmful interference to receivers.
All radio transmissions in New Zealand are authorised by licences issued in accordance with the Radiocommunications Act 1989(external link).
A licence is a record in the Register of Radio Frequencies (RRF) authorising the transmission of radio waves in accordance with technical conditions such as:
- modulation characteristics
- equipment performance standards.
The licence may also specify particular operating conditions — such as the purpose or service for which it is intended. In addition, some general conditions apply to all licences issued in New Zealand.
Risks of non-compliance
Licences are about managing the risk of interference to other radio communications services and users. Radio services in New Zealand are planned on the basis of licence information recorded in the RRF.
If a transmission isn't recorded in the RRF, or is outside the conditions shown on a licence in the RRF, there's a risk of interference to existing or new licensed services.
Apart from the costs or risks to life and property caused by interference, there can also be significant costs involved in the investigation, location and resolution of interference.
See Interference for more information.
How to ensure your licence complies
All transmissions of radio waves in New Zealand are required to be authorised by a licence. Every person who transmits radio waves otherwise than in accordance with a licence commits an offence. Note that some general conditions apply to all licences, including the requirement to grant entry to authorised inspectors, at all reasonable times to any place, premises or building for the purposes of ensuring compliance with the licence.
Requirements for operation under a general user licence (Radio or Spectrum)
General User Radio Licences (GURL) and General User Spectrum Licences (GUSL) provide for certain classes of radio transmitter to be used without the need for the owner to obtain a licence in their own name. Provided the equipment meets the applicable technical standards, operates only on the allocated frequencies and meets all other requirements specified in the licence; it may be used by anyone.
Requirements for radio licence holders
Holders of radio licences must conform to all the parameters and conditions contained in the licence. These details can be located in the RRF.
Radio licences are subject to annual fees. Although no expiry date may appear on the licence, failure to pay the annual fee will result in the licence being revoked. Continued use of a radio service after the licence is revoked is an offence.
To reinstate a licence after it has been revoked will require the services of an approved radio engineer (ARE) or certifier (ARC) who will charge fees for their services. Additionally there is no guarantee the same frequency will still be available.
Requirements for spectrum licence holders
Holders of spectrum licences must conform to all the parameters and conditions contained in the licence. These details can be located in the RRF.
Spectrum licences are granted for periods up to 20 years and also require payment of an annual fee. Failure to pay the fee will result in the licence being revoked. Continued use of a radio service after the licence is revoked is an offence.
To reinstate a licence after it has been revoked will require the services of an ARE who will charge fees for their services. Additionally there is no guarantee the same frequency will still be available.