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The Argument for the Legalisation of Repeaters in the UK

15 Feb 2015
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We have always been open with our customers about the current situation in regards to the legality of mobile repeaters in the UK. At present , Ofcom literature states that repeaters are illegal to install and operate, unless the repeater meets certain European broadcasting standards and is authorized by a mobile operator. Many of the signal boosters used by operators are actually re-branded products from another company. These are completely legal for the operator to ship out and for the consumer to use.

Smart repeaters are more advanced than cheap repeaters

These repeaters are ‘smart’ in the way that they repeat mobile signal. They will only ever broadcast at a suitable gain level, which means they do not interfere with any other signal. The main concern Ofcom has is that poorly constructed repeaters broadcast with very high gain across a wide frequency spectrum, thus degrading the quality of all mobile signal in the area. This is a wholly legitimate concern as a ‘noisy’ repeater can cause serious networking issues for a lot of people. Just one poorly developed device could impact the signal quality of multiple buildings or apartments.

Over the years, repeating technology has improved significantly. There are still some very poorly designed repeaters on the market, most notably from China, that promise users increased signal for a great price. These are the devices Ofcom wants to control. These are the devices that can wreak havoc with mobile signal.

On the other hand, more reliable and safer solutions have been developed. StellaDoradus have spent years working with operators and regulators throughout Europe to develop our product, making it as safe and efficient as possible.

Smart repeaters are legal in America

Interestingly, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) have authorized the use of ‘network safe’ repeaters throughout America. This means intelligent repeaters, such as Stelladoradus’, are legal to install and operate over there. The UK and Europe are going to follow suit in 2 or 3 years, and Stelladoradus repeaters are ready for this.

Mobile repeaters work on the exact same principle regardless of which country they are operating in. The frequency that they are amplifying may change due to the way different countries divide the mobile frequency spectrum amongst mobile network operators, but the repeating technology still functions in the same manner.

Ofcom should legalise all smart repeaters for use in the UK

The UK needs to fall into line with America. At this moment in time, using a repeater is the only commercially viable way for many people on multiple carriers to improve the quality of their mobile signal. In reality, network operators are doing little to improve the situation. There are still many people in rural environments that rarely have a reliable mobile signal. The situation in big cities is also worsening, with signal blackspots appearing throughout streets and buildings. Network operators will do very little to fix these problems themselves.

It is important for intelligent repeaters to be legalised across the board. It would finally allow people to alleviate their signal issues without relying on action being taken by network operators.

The problem of poor mobile reception has been around for decades and the major network operators are still not on top of it. Even the roll out of 4G has done little to help those who are based outside of major cities, and large parts of Scotland are still unable to secure a solid 3G signal.

This is a problem that does not seem to be going away any time soon, but the solution is already here, tried, tested and proven to be successful.

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