Mobile phone repeaters' high interference risk was surveyed by means of a pan-European campaign
A mobile phone repeater is a radio device that boosts and conveys a radio signal. In Finland, only mobile network operators have the right to install and use mobile phone repeaters. In addition, use of repeaters always requires a radio licence granted by FICORA.
Unauthorised use of mobile phone repeaters is a punishable act which FICORA reports to the police. Operators can also make a claim for compensation if the unauthorised use causes financial loss to them.
Particularly high-risk repeaters are so-called broadband repeaters which boost frequencies that are used by several operators. They send signal uncontrollably also in other frequency bands than in the preferred one, causing interferences to the function of the nearest mobile network base stations. At their worst, interferences may totally prevent mobile phones from connecting to the mobile network.
Selling and marketing of mobile phone repeaters is in itself lawful, provided that the devices fulfil the essential requirements set for them. However, a private person or a business violates the law when bringing a repeater into use. Users should always contact their own service operator in order to have solutions to problems related to the coverage of mobile phone calls.
Due to their high interference risk, mobile phone repeaters were chosen as the object of the 6th joint cross-border market surveillance campaign on radio devices carried out in 2014. The campaign was carried out by R&TTE Adco which is a cooperation group of radio device market surveillance authorities and which was founded by the EU Commission. Use of repeaters is restricted in all EU, ETA and EFTA countries. The use requires a licence either from an authority or from the mobile network operator to which allocated frequencies the user wishes to use.
As little as about one third of the repeaters tested within the campaign met the technical requirements set for them. Significant defects were also noticed in the user's manuals and other documents of devices in the market, as well as in markings. In the campaign report, attention was paid to that also devices complying with the requirements cause a significant risk of interference if they are not installed properly. Furthermore, it was stated in the conclusions that the European standards concerning repeaters have been developed for the purpose of professional use. Therefore, current standards cannot be applied to the use exercised by private persons and to devices that can be installed by users themselves.
FICORA supervises that radio devices in the Finnish market comply with requirements, as well as the use of radio devices. FICORA may prohibit the sale of such devices that do not comply with requirements.
Link to the campaign report: 6th MSC under R&TTE on Mobile Phone repeaters [pdf, 145 KB]
Ritva Suurnäkki, Senior Specialist, telephone +358 295 390 645