On 3 September 2014, the Government released a consultation paper proposing a carrier licensing exemption designed to make it easier for carriers to use private telecommunications infrastructure.

The exemption is proposed to improve service provision and create new opportunities for better infrastructure utilisation, including to increase mobile coverage in regional areas.

The exemption would allow government agencies and private firms that own suitable network infrastructure to enter into agreements with carriers to use the infrastructure without the need for a carrier licence of their own. Any agreement between private network operators and carriers would be voluntary and on a commercial basis.

The intention is that this would create opportunities for both private operators and carriers to leverage existing private infrastructure, but it would be up to market participants to take advantage of the opportunities. Submissions close on 7 October 2014.

The media release can be found here.

The consultation paper can be found here.