Facts about Mobile Phone Repeaters and Boosters

THERE ARE NUMEROUS WEBSITES OUT THERE THAT ARE SELLING MOBILE PHONE BOOSTERS AND MOBILE PHONE REPEATERS ONLINE. WHICH ONES ARE LEGAL?

Poor mobile phone reception is common in regional areas, apartments, office towers and remote areas. There are a lot of websites online selling mobile signal boosters and repeaters to try and amplify your signal however, most of those products will most likely be illegal to use within Australia.

So which one should you be using? While they do the same job, mobile phone boosters and mobile phone repeaters are a bit different in the way they amplify your signal.

MOBILE PHONE BOOSTER

Mobile phone boosters are powered radio frequency amplifiers that need to be physically connected to the phone or mobile data device with a cable in order for it to function. It has 2 ports – one to connect to the mobile device and the other for the external antenna. There must be an existing signal for the device to amplify, otherwise it will not work.

Some signal boosters are banned for sale or use in Australia.[1] This is because the inability of mobile signal boosters to adjust its transmission power can overload nearby base stations which can cause them to be ‘blinded’ and lower their own transmission power. The overall coverage of the mobile tower becomes reduced and causes reception on the outer areas to disappear. Mobile coverage becomes gradually reduced the more mobile signal boosters are used in an area. This can disrupt services for other users in those areas and could possibly restrict their access to emergency call services. Fixtel has Australian Approved Telstra Mobile Signal Boosters.

MOBILE PHONE REPEATERS

A repeater is a fixed radio communication device that is designed to wirelessly replicate a mobile signal. It improves the reliability of a mobile service in a poor signal area by grabbing the outdoor signal, boost it up and then rebroadcasting it indoors. The device has 2 ports, one for the antenna outside and one for the antenna inside.

Mobile phone repeaters can be used in Australia but only if you have been granted authorisation from the carrier. Authorisation is usually granted only to suppliers of commercial grade equipment which are usually for corporate use. It is commonly used by the carriers themselves as part of their ordinary network management.

There is only one legal mobile phone repeater that is available for consumer use and that is the Cel-Fi Smart Repeater. There is no other consumer repeater that has obtained carrier approval in Australia so if you are not using a Cel-Fi Smart Repeater then it is most likely not approved for use. This is because the majority of the mobile phone repeaters found online are usually primitive in design and this is why they are fairly cheap. They are not sophisticated enough to be able to work in harmony with the carrier’s existing mobile network. The repeaters can transmit feedback to the network which can disrupt and reduce the quality of other services. They can also create interference when they are not set up properly.

CONSEQUENCES

Anyone found in possession of or using a mobile signal booster/repeater can face fines of up to $360,000 or jail time of up to two years.

There are numerous websites out there that are selling mobile phone boosters and mobile phone repeaters. Most of them will not be legal for use within Australia no matter how much they claim to be authorised. A lot of them will mimic Australian sites and it can be easy for anyone to mistake them for a genuine authorised dealer.

At this time, it is probably wise to stay away from mobile phone boosters altogether. They are banned devices. Currently, the Cel-Fi Smart Repeater is the only approved consumer repeater. If it is not a Cel-Fi Smart Repeater, it is most likely illegal.

Fixtel can supply Cel-Fi Smart Repeaters and have the qualified technicians who are authorised to install the product. If you need any help with finding a solution for your poor mobile phone reception, give us a call on 1300 FIXTEL (349 835). We offer a free onsite evaluation.

1″Mobile Phone Boosters Banned–Information for Consumers.” Australian Communications and Media Authority. May 24, 2016. Accessed March 30, 2018.