Interference to mobile networks – Buyer Beware!

Interference to mobile networks can be a 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 – including boosters and repeaters – 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 you can optimise your mobile reception.

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.