Codes, guides and schemes explained

Mandatory code

This is a code or standard, as agreed by the TCF board which is compulsory for all TCF members to become signatories to. Mandatory codes are governed by the TCF Code Compliance Framework.

Regulated code

This is any code or standard that is regulated under the Telecommunications Act 2001, as determined by the Commerce Commission or the Minister for Communications.

If you wish to be able to vote on certain draft telecommunications access codes, you must be registered as an eligible person. See the register of eligible persons and make an application to be added to the register at the Commerce Commission website

Self-Regulated code

This is a code or standard prepared by the TCF, which members may choose to sign. Whilst not compulsory, self-regulated codes are binding by signatories and have a compliance requirement.

Self-regulated codes are sometimes referred to as voluntary codes.

Industry guideline

These are documents that outline good practice on a range of industry topics.

Guidelines are followed voluntarily by TCF members and other parties.

Industry guidelines do not require signatories or compliance but often form the foundation document to binding agreements between telecommunications providers.


A scheme involves the TCF contracting a third party provider to provide the core element of the service.

Particular categories of TCF members (and non-members) are specific scheme members due to the nature of their business.

TCF schemes also include processes and procedures which members of the scheme must follow.

Looking for something else?

Code Compliance

Learn more about the TCF Code Compliance Framework.

Find out more


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