The Sunrise period for the new .tel generic top level domain ("TLD") begins on 3 December 2008. Only registered trade mark owners may apply for a .tel domain name during the Sunrise period. The .tel domain is different from other TLDs, such as .com and .net, which map domain names to websites. When a webuser types companyname.tel they will not receive an IP address that then links through to that company's website. Instead, they will receive the company's contact information which that company has chosen to store directly in the Domain Name System. A webuser may then click on one of the contact details provided by the company, such as the telephone number or email address, and be connected immediately.

A .tel domain name therefore allows businesses to direct consumers easily to the correct department or location. There is a simulator on the www.telnic.com website which we recommend using in order to get a better feel of how the .tel generic TLD will work.

Applications for .tel domain names made during the Sunrise period must exactly match current registered national or international trade marks which were applied for on or before 30 May 2008. The registrant details provided in the application must exactly match those of the owner, licensee or assignee of the trade mark(s) relied on. The Landrush period, which is open to everyone, will begin on 3 February 2009.

Registering a .tel domain name is not cheap. The official .tel registry fee for a registration made during the Sunrise period is $275 for a mandatory three year period. In addition, the service fees of our recommended domain name registrar are £125.