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OFCOM allows the use of repeaters in the UK (but only under conditions that make them impractical for general use)

25 Oct 2017
chinese repeaters

I am an engineer working for Stelladoradus and I am going to discuss the new ruling from OFCOM about repeaters in the UK.  Stelladoradus currently sells repeaters across mainland Europe, and we are displacing the sales of cheaper Chinese repeaters in these countries. These Chinese repeaters are a nightmare for the regulators like OFCOM because they create noise and damage to the operators network.

The specification talks about several aspects but I am going to explain why it is fundamentally flawed.

This new OFCOM specification is actually demanding a repeater that is so uncompetitive to the existing cheap and noisy  Chinese repeaters on the market that it will not displace them.

1). The specification requires that the repeater will only work on one network operator at a time. What happens if there are 2 or more phones in the household on different networks? In our experience,  if the signal of one operator in your house is weak, then the other operators are also weak. You would need a repeater for each operator!

2). To enhance network protection, the specification asks for new technology (measuring the base station power) that would require more expensive hardware to be installed in the repeaters. This would add more complexity and cost to the device, for very little extra network protection, if any.

3). OFCOM argues that the market experience is that good repeaters drive bad repeaters out of the market. This is true. This is what happened in the USA when the FCC legalised broadband repeaters over there. The USA based company, WeBoost (formerly known as Wilson Electronics) produced a line of very cost competitive, high performance repeaters and completely dominated the market. They drove out almost all cheap and noisy Chinese competition in this area. They still dominate this market today. The FCC regulations do not require the repeaters to only amplify a single operator, or to measure the base station power. They achieve the same network protection through other effective means. This means the price point of the WeBoost repeaters was kept low. The OFCOM standard will approximately double this product price point and will make these repeaters so unattractive to consumers that the large market in online sales of noisy repeaters will continue apace.

4). It appears there is only one repeater manufacturer that can achieve the technical standards OFCOM require. Their repeaters have no outdoor antennas. It is a totally indoor solution,which sounds great for consumers, but our experience is that it often does not work well. The product ratings on Amazon also indicate this…(average 3 out of 5 stars). The product is also very expensive and will never drive out the cheap Chinese repeaters.

Conclusion

To sum it up, we believe that the Chinese repeater stores online will be delighted with this new specification as it means they can continue to flood the UK market with noisy repeaters with little viable competition.

These Chinese repeater shops include:

www.mobilebooster.co.uk (Ads hosted by Google)

www.myamplifiers.com/mobile_boosters (Ads hosted by Google)

www.hiboost.eu/  (Ads hosted by Google)

https://www.mobilesignalboosters.co.uk/

https://www.ebay.co.uk  (Yes, even Ebay are listing Chinese repeaters)

https://www.phonesignalboosters.co.uk

https://www.mobilerepeater.co.uk

Plus Google shopping:

Google itself is facilitating the sale of Chinese noisy repeaters into the UK market. Due to Google shopping’s prominent position in the ads listings on the search pages, we believe that Google shopping is one of the biggest sellers of noisy repeaters into the UK.

google shopping selling illegal repeaters

 

Interestingly, Amazon.co.uk does NOT sell these repeaters directly on their platform. We believe this is because OFCOM specifically asked them to remove ALL repeater venders from their listings. However, you will see “sponsored links” to Chinese repeaters at the bottom of Amazons page. (see image below)

amazon links

These cheap repeaters are “leaking” into the market from everywhere. It seems beyond the powers of OFCOM to stop it.

And they are fooling themselves if they believe specifying a repeater that is

a) more expensive

b) only boosts one network operator at a time

is going to stop the torrent of these repeaters flowing into the UK.

 

So far, is seems OFCOM has not asked Google or Ebay to stop facilitating these sales. Perhaps they are waiting for a viable alternative before they do ask them.

Suggestion

We believe OFCOM should look at the USA to see how they have successfully dealt with this situation. They have created a realistic  specification that both solves the indoor coverage problem whilst at the same time protects the operators network.

All StellaDoradus products do exactly this. Why not talk to us :)

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