Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme

The Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme (the Scheme) is an Australian Government initiative to help people living or working in the most remote parts of Australia purchase satellite mobile phones.

The following points summarise its features.

The Scheme provides support to people who live or work in areas beyond CDMA, 3G or GSM terrestrial mobile coverage.
The Scheme applies to terrestrial, maritime and aviation users who meet the eligibility criteria.
Eligible consumers include individuals, small businesses, community groups, not-for-profit organisations, Indigenous Corporations, volunteer emergency services and educational institutions.
There is a limit of one subsidy per person or a maximum of two subsidies per organisation or business. Indigenous Corporations that demonstrate a need to adequately service a number of remote communities may apply for more than two subsidies.
The Scheme provides eligible consumers a one-off subsidy of up to $1100 towards the purchase of a mobile satellite phone(conditions apply).
The subsidy is for the purchase of a satellite mobile phone through a registered dealer. The subsidy is paid to dealers, who deduct it from the retail price of the phone to consumers.
The application must be approved before the phone is purchased—the subsidy will not be paid for a satellite mobile phone purchased before the application for the subsidy is approved.
The subsidy is for the purchase of a satellite mobile phone and does not cover any ongoing bills, charges or the ongoing service of the service provider.
The Government enhanced the Scheme as part of the Connect Australia package and extended the closing date from June 2007 to June 2009.

An independent mid-term evaluation of the Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme was undertaken in 2005-06 to assess its appropriateness, efficiency and effectiveness against its strategic and operational objectives (a link to this document is on the right of this page).

Who is eligible?

1. In order to receive the subsidy, you must satisfy each of the following criteria:
1.1 You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, a business registered in Australia, or an organisation operating principally within Australia.
1.2 You must be one of the following:
(a) a private individual;
(b) a community group (non government funded);
(c) a not-for-profit organisation with less than 20 fulltime equivalent employees (non government funded);
(d) an Indigenous Corporation;
(e) a small business;
(f) a volunteer emergency service; or
(g) an educational institution.
1.3 You must:
(a) have your principal place of residence or your principal operating address; or
(b) spend a substantial amount of time (no less than 120 calendar days per year for two years from the date the phone was purchased); in an area of Australia not served by current terrestrial mobile phone coverage or where terrestrial mobile phone coverage is not planned for introduction within 12 months of the application, including such an area in the air space or the Exclusive Economic Zone of Australia or Australia’s external territories.
1.4 None of the criteria for ineligibility (clause 3) apply.
2. For the purposes of these guidelines:
‘educational institution’ means an institution providing primary, secondary or tertiary education;
‘Indigenous Corporation’ means an Indigenous community council constituted or established under State or Territory legislation, or an Indigenous incorporated association recognised as a ‘local governing body’ by the Australian or Northern Territory Governments;
‘principal operating address’ means the physical street address where the main activity of the business or organisation takes place;
‘principal place of residence’ means the physical street address where you live on a permanent basis;
‘small business’ means a business with less than 20 fulltime equivalent employees, including casual, part-time and contract workers;
‘terrestrial mobile phone coverage’ includes areas where coverage is possible with a properly installed car kit with external antennae;
‘volunteer emergency service’ means an emergency service organisation that is not principally government funded and which operates with predominantly unpaid, volunteer operational staff.

Who is NOT eligible?

3. You will not be eligible for the subsidy if any of the following ineligibility criteria apply:
3.1 The phone is to be used solely or principally internationally.
3.2 The phone is to be used as a demonstration, loan or rental satellite phone or for other similar purposes as part of satellite phone sales, marketing or client service strategies.

 Download PDF data sheet for complete DCITA Guidelines [164KB]

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