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Going away for Easter? Remember to check mobile coverage!

With the Easter break and school holidays here, many of us will be heading off to holiday destinations.

Although some of us may want to “unplug” for a week, others may need to stay in touch with work or family while away so checking mobile coverage before you book or head off on holidays is always a good idea.

You can check the mobile coverage for your holiday destination with your service provider before you leave by visiting your service provider’s website or calling them to see what kind of coverage you can expect at your holiday destination.

Safe and legal ways to enhance mobile coverage and reception

Mobile coverage and good reception are very important to mobile device users whether on holidays, at home or at work. Before you sign up to a new plan or buy a new device, it’s important to check the coverage in the places you will use your phone the most.

And while there are some things you can do to boost mobile coverage, however, there are strict rules around the use of mobile repeater devices.

There are ways you can safely and legally enhance your mobile coverage.

Buyer beware – of claims about mobile boosters and repeaters

Mobile phone boosters are banned under the Radiocommunications Act (1992) by the ACMA because they can cause significant interference to mobile networks and mobile repeaters which are also regulated by the ACMA may only be used if the specific model has been authorised for your use by your mobile carrier. 

So it pays to be careful about devices you purchase and use in Australia to boost mobile coverage.

There are websites that advertise devices which promise to help boost mobile coverage – but these devices are often illegal.

These devices are prohibited because they often cause significant interference with mobile networks and prevent other mobile users from accessing the networks, which can have serious consequences if somebody is unable to make an emergency call.

Mobile Repeaters

A mobile repeater is a fixed radio-communications device that can be used to “repeat” a wireless signal from a base station and so provide mobile coverage to areas where the base-station signal may be weaker.

Licensed mobile carriers use mobile repeaters as part of their overall network management and deployment program.

Anyone who is not a licensed mobile carrier may only use a mobile repeater with the permission of a licensed mobile carrier. This is because mobile repeaters often cause significant interference and disruption to mobile networks. Unauthorised use of mobile repeaters can result in fines of up to $255,000 or two years imprisonment. 

You can read more about the rules for mobile phone repeaters on the ACMA website and you can find out how to report the use of an unauthorised device here

Mobile phone boosters

Mobile phone boosters are devices that can be attached via a cable to a mobile device to boost the signal strength. 

Mobile phone boosters are prohibited by the ACMA because they can cause significant interference with mobile networks and prevent access to mobile services by other users. This can have very serious consequences for anyone nearby trying to make a call, particularly in an emergency. You can read more about why mobile phone boosters are prohibited on the ACMA website.

If you need help with coverage

Talk to your mobile service provider as they will be able to tell you about safe and legal ways to improve your coverage.

 

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How will 5G improve network performance

While the technical standards for 5G are still being developed, experts agree that 5G will offer: Latency of less than 1ms; Ability to deliver speeds of up to 10 Gbps and beyond; Energy efficiency in running 1000s of devices; and Improved network capacity by enabling millions of low bandwidth devices to connect simultaneously. Where 4G focussed on providing improved speed and capacity for individual mobile phone users, 5G will enable more industrial applications, and could be a major technological driver in industrial digitalisation. For more information about 5G read our latest report from Deloitte Access Economics. Download the complete report.

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Flexibility in Network Deployment Regulations

The Department of Communications and the Arts has just completed its public consultation on a suite of amendments to the regulatory framework governing carriers’ deployment of mobile network infrastructure. AMTA joined Communications Alliance in welcoming the opportunity to provide comment on the DoCA consultation paper.

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ARPANSA's latest literature review reports on new Australian study which finds no increase in brain cancer with mobile phone use

In The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA's) regular EMR literature survey for May 2016, ARPANSA report on the recent Australian study by Professor Simon Chapman which asks the question "Has the incidence of brain cancer risen in Australia since the introduction of mobile phones 29 years ago?".  The paper pubslished in cancer epidermology compared mobile phone ownership with the incidence of brain cancer in Australia.  In the study, brain cancer incidence rates from 1982 to 2012 are compared with the number of mobile phone accounts in the Australian population from 1987 to 2012. The study found that although mobile phone use increased from 0% to 94% during the 30 year period brain cancer incidence rates were stable.  This finding is consitent with previous studies in the US, UK. New Zealand and Nordic countries. See ARPANSA's commentary here: Full paper may be found here: