Poor mobile reception is super annoying, especially at home. Missed calls, terrible quality audio and ongoing dropouts is enough to drive anyone to look for a solution. But looking for you own solution can be very illegal.
Mobile phone repeaters are easily and cheaply found for sale online, usually shipped directly from China. Using a large antenna and amplifier, they promise to boost reception in an area of a few hundred meters square.
Sounds good right? The downside is that they are actually illegal to operate and individuals can face up to 2 years in jail in caught. Businesses boosting the signal in their stores can be fined up to $255,000.
The problem is that many of the dodgy on-line retailers selling mobile repeaters suggest they are legal to operate. Cheap models can be bought for under $100, so it’s easy for unaware but frustrated mobile users to consider it a good solution.
While telcos run their own repeaters in certain areas (such as underground train stations and shopping centres), the dodgy unlicensed versions can interfere with the network. While you might get boosted reception, your neighbour’s house might become a total dead zone.
Fortunately there are ways to increase your coverage without doing anything illegal. Providers such as Telstra and Optus sell legal signal boosters, and there are some other approved products available.
Check out a few legal options over at Telco Antennas.