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Illegal Smartphone Repeaters Targeted

Illegal Smartphone Repeaters Targeted

These mobile phone repeaters that cost around $100 are used
to increase the signal strength of smartphones by wirelessly replicating and
amplifying radio signals, among those selling the devices are backyard consumer
electronics retailers and some telecommunication carriers. Legal versions cost
around $1000.


The downside is that the devices can hijack radio waves and
cause havoc for infrastructure and services that rely on mobile networks.


Illegal mobile repeaters typically sell for under $100,
about 10 times cheaper than telco-?approved boosters.


The ACMA and Fair Trading are concerned that the use of
unlicensed repeaters – which hijack spectrum licensed to telecommunications
carriers Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – could cause substantial interference to
mobile networks and affect emergency call services.


Mobile repeaters are fixed transmitting devices sometimes
used in mobile networks to regenerate or replicate a mobile signal in difficult
areas; home users sometimes buy them in a bid to improve reception in a big or
multi-storey house. They cannot be used in Australia without written
authorisation from the user’s carrier.

“Australian consumers face dangers in purchasing
unlicensed mobile phone repeaters online, and need to be aware of the
activities of unscrupulous Internet- based suppliers,” said ACMA chairman
Chris Chapman.


Last month NSW Fair Trading served a cease-and-desist order
on the largest Internet supplier of repeaters, Mobile Repeaters Australia


“Traders like MRA are keeping consumers in the dark and
misinformed,” said Fair Trading commissioner Rod Stowe.


“Consumers need to be aware of the dangers of using
these poorly made and non-compliant devices. By selling these second-rate
mobile phone repeaters, traders are putting at risk the whole community for the
sake of their own financial gain.”