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Going away for the school holidays? Remember to check mobile coverage!

With school holidays, many families will be getting away for a week or two.

Although some of us may want to “unplug”, 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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Final NTP results cannot confirm mobile phone cause cancer in humans

The long awaited final results of the decade-spanning US National Toxicology Program on radiofrequency energy exposure has found no consistent effects in male and female mice and rats exposed to mobile phone signals for their whole life (2 years). However, in a sub-section of the study, researchers found that at the highest doses for the longest periods of time, cellphone radiation might cause a rare cancer in male rats. “High exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in rodents resulted in tumours in tissues surrounding nerves in the hearts of male rats, but not female rats or any mice, according to draft studies from the National Toxicology Program (NTP),” said a press release from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences where the program is headquartered.

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Mobile tips for School leavers

Most schoolies will be keeping in touch with parents via their mobiles and so we think it's important that parents stay engaged via SMS or social media with their kids so that they know they can reach out for help if they do get caught in a sticky situation.

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Interference to mobile networks - Buyer Beware!

Interference to the mobile network can cause calls to drop out, data speeds to drop and impact on network performance. In the worst case, it can prevent someone else from making a call to Triple Zero in an emergency. The ACMA has now made available a consumer factsheet on interference that explains some of the common causes of interference and what you should do if you are contacted by a mobile network operator about interference to their network.