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Interference to mobile networks - Buyer Beware!

Interference to mobile networks can be problem for mobile network operators as it can cause mobile calls to drop out. It can also affect mobile network performance in an area and impact on data speeds.

Australia’s mobile network operators and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) take interference complaints seriously as interference has the potential to prevent calls being made to Triple Zero, posing a serious risk to public safety and lives in an emergency.

In most cases, interference to mobile networks is caused inadvertently by people using radiocommunications devices that are either prohibited or not designed for use in Australia.

 

The ACMA encourages anyone who is contacted by a mobile network operator in relation to reported interference to work co-operatively with the mobile network operator to identify the source of interference and manage the problem. If cases of interference cannot be resolved co-operatively, the mobile network operator may escalate the matter to the ACMA for investigation, or independently seek a remedy through the courts. The ACMA can exercise its powers to resolve interference issues and penalties can apply to individuals found guilty of possessing an unlicensed radiocommunications devices; or persons who are engaging in conduct that results in substantial interferences or disruption to radiocommunications. Penalties for these types of offences range from $12, 600- $315, 000 and include potential imprisonment for up to two years.

Some devices are not designed for use in Australia

Sometimes people purchase devices which are designed for use overseas and are not consistent with Australia’s radiofrequency plans, for example, two-way radios, cordless phones, baby monitors, wireless headphones, security cameras or wireless modems – these devices can cause interference with mobile networks. It pays to check before you purchase a device online that it is approved for use in Australia.

Be careful – some devices are not authorised for use or even prohibited in Australia

It pays to be careful about devices you purchase and use in Australia to boost mobile coverage. There are websites that advertise devices that promise to help boost mobile coverage – but these devices are not authorised for use in Australia and in some cases are illegal. The reason these devices are prohibited is that they can cause significant interference with mobile networks and prevent other mobile users from accessing the network which can have serious consequences if somebody is unable to make a Triple Zero call. 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 boost your coverage.

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.

Mobile repeaters are used by licensed mobile Carriers as part of their overall network management and deployment program.

Anyone who is not a licensed mobile Carrier can only use a mobile repeater with the permission of a licensed mobile Carrier. This is because mobile repeaters can cause significant interference and disruption to public 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 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 to Triple Zero (000).

You can read more about the prohibition of mobile phone boosters on the ACMA website.

TV antennas with masthead and distribution amplifiers

Masthead and distribution amplifiers are sometimes used in television reception systems, however, they can also interfere with mobile networks if they are faulty or incorrectly used. Anyone operating a masthead amplifier or distribution amplifier is responsible for any interfering signal it produces.

Click here to download the ACMA’s Consumer Factsheet on Interference to mobile phone networks

 

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AMTA welcomes deployment regulation amendments

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) welcomes the announcement today from the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Mitch Fifield, regarding the progression of 10 reforms to the regulations governing the deployment of wireless and mobile networks in Australia; as well as further consultation on 11 other proposed reforms. In welcoming the announcement, AMTA Chief Executive, Chris Althaus noted the Government’s reform package will go some way towards enabling the deployment of the next generation 5G mobile networks which are expected to bring significant improvements in speed, quality and capacity for Australia’s data hungry consumers.  But he also noted there was still more to do. “This is a welcome and very important first step - in what we hope will be an ongoing engagement with government and stakeholders to develop a dynamic regulatory framework to meet the deployment challenges of next generation networks.

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5G gains momentum in 2018

AMTA is confident that the Government's 5G priorities will add momentum to our ongoing efforts to engage with industry verticals and the respective government departments outside of the communications portfolio with regard to the broader economic and social benefits of 5G.

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AMTA Annual Report 2017

In 2017, the strong demand for mobile services continues to have an impact on our economy and society as the industry shifts its focus in preparation for 5G, the next generation of mobile technology. AMTA’s latest Annual Report includes the following highlights: As industry prepares for 5G the need for regulatory reform in spectrum management and network infrastructure deployment is increasingly urgent. 5G Mobile – Enabling Businesses and Economic Growth Report by Deloitte Access Economics found that 5G is expected to further drive Australia’s digital economy. It will add to the already significant (and growing) $34 billion in long-term productivity benefits from mobile; and annual network spend from mobile providers is expected to reach $5.7 billion in FY2017-18. The MCF has focused on an agenda of legislative reform to support the efficient and flexible deployment of network infrastructure.