Radiocommunications Licensing

European legislation, i.e. the Authorisation Directive (2002/20/EC), and ITU rules, i.e. the Radio Regulations (RR) have established that a form of authorisation is required for radio transmissions.  National legislation reflects this requirement since in accordance with the Electronic Communications (Regulation) Act (Cap. 399) the use of radio frequencies as well as the installation or use of radiocommunications equipment needs to be authorised. Malta has various forms of authorisations which can be categorised under three high-level categories, namely, individual licensing, light-licensing and licensing-exempt.  These types of licenses are in general managed by the MCA and forms part of the spectrum management responsibilities assigned to it.

Radiocommunications Equipment Licensing

Part IV of the Electronic Communications (Regulation) Act (Cap. 399) requires that the installation or use of radiocommunications equipment is subject to an individual licence unless the equipment is licence exempt or covered by a general authorisation.  The licence fees applicable to such licences are established under the Fees Leviable by Government Departments Regulations (S.L.35.01).

Individual licensing

Radiocommunications individual equipment licences are generally valid for a period of one year term and are renewed for further terms subject to the payment of the renewal licence fees. All licences contain a set of conditions to ensure that the radio equipment being licensed uses radio spectrum in the most efficient manner.  Such conditions therefore could include limitations on the location where the equipment may be installed as well as on the operational technical parameters.  Through such licences the MCA indirectly grants the right of use of radio spectrum.

The following comprises the main types of radio equipment that is currently regulated through the grant of an individual radiocommunications licence:- Aeronautical equipment (including that installed on aircraft and on the ground), amateur radio, broadcasting equipment used for national or community transmissions, on-site paging systems, PMR (Private Mobile Radio), PMSE (Programme Making and Special Events) equipment, Amateur radio, satellite transmission equipment, maritime equipment installed ashore, radio links and radiolocation / radionavigation equipment installed on the ground.

Application forms for the grant of a new licence or to request a modification or termination of an existing licence can be found in the Downloadable eForms section. The fees related to Radio Equipment Licences can also be settled through the MCA’s secure online payment system.

For further information on this topic, you may either refer to the Guidelines on Radiocommunications Authorisations and Licenses or you may contact us via telephone on +356 2133 6840 or via email at rcl@mca.org.mt and we will guide you accordingly.

Light-licensing

Malta’s light licensing framework is established by the General Authorisations (Radiocommunications Apparatus) Regulation (S.L.399.40).  This framework applies to various types of radio equipment which:

    • when used, there is no need to coordinate between users;
    • user individualisation is not necessary;
    • when the use of a frequency or of a frequency band is possible by a number of users within a particular area;
    • when spectrum is available on a long-term basis; and
    • when the radio applications are not subject to frequency planning, coordination and individual frequency assignment.

Cordless telephones, radio local area networks such as Wi-Fi equipment, remote controls, PMR446 radios, Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFIDs), certain satellite terminals, short range devices (SRDs), and Bluetooth devices are some categories of radiocommunication equipment that are regulated by the above-mentioned general authorisation regulation, i.e. S.L.399.40.

A person using such equipment shall in all instances comply with its purpose of use and meets the technical and other operating requirements as stated in S.L.399.40.  For example, installing a high gain antenna to a radio local area network, thereby exceeding the allowed power limits is a breach to this Regulation.

Some radio equipment that is regulated by S.L.399.40 is subject to registration or notification prior being installed or used in Malta. VHF maritime radios, EPIRBs and certain satellite terminals fall within this category. For additional information on this type of licensing regime, you may either refer to the Guidelines on Radiocommunications Authorisations and Licenses or you may contact us via telephone on +356 2133 6840 or via email at rcl@mca.org.mt and we will guide you accordingly. The relevant notification forms can also be found in the downloadable eForms section.

Licensing-exempt

Malta’s licence-exempt framework for radiocommunications equipment is established under the Radiocommunications Apparatus Exemption Order (S.L.399.42).  This Order lists various types of terrestrial and satellite equipment, such as mobile phones and mobile-satellite terminals from the requirement of a licence provided that:

    • the equipment complies with the applicable conformity assessment regulations, such as the Radio Equipment Directive; and
    • the equipment operates under the control of terrestrial or satellite networks, capable of providing electronic communications services in the frequency bands or parts therefore as described in the same order.

Spectrum Licences

In accordance with the Electronic Communications Act (Cap. 399) an authorisation is required for the right to use radio frequencies. The authorisation is necessary to, amongst other things, avoid harmful interference and safeguard the efficient use of radiospectrum.

Interested parties who may wish to apply for the right to use radio frequencies are invited to fill in and submit the Generic Spectrum Application Form (MCA/F/12-0756) which can be found in the Downloadable eForms section.

A list of Spectrum licenses granted by the MCA can be found here.

Updated:- 26.04.2018