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Ofcom aims to provide more clarity on UK licence exemption and the devices that boost mobile signal indoors. On 17th May 2021, Ofcom announced a consultation on mobile phone repeaters in the UK.

The current regulation specifies that mobile signal repeaters (boosters) can only be used on a licence-exempt basis if they meet certain technical requirements. The proposed consultation will review these technical requirements, including the types of mobile signal booster (‘single-operator’, ‘provider-specific’ and ‘multi-operator’ repeaters) which can be used without a need for a licence.

Furthermore, Ofcom wants to publish a list of authorised mobile phone repeaters to help people identify which static indoor mobile phone repeaters can be legally used without the need for a licence. All mobile phone repeaters that wish to become UK licence-exempt will have to be tested by an accredited test house in accordance with testing standards produced by Ofcom and demonstrate compliance with the technical requirements to fall under the licence-exempt remit.

Any comments must be submitted by 28 July 2021 and Ofcom plans to publish its findings later this year.

Ofcom outlines the full review in this document.

Cel-Fi Is Positioned To Benefit From Any Outcome

Under the current regulation, Cel-Fi products are the only mobile signal boosters available on the market that fully comply with the regulatory requirements set out in Ofcom IR 2102 (UK). Cel-Fi is uniquely positioned to continue to grow its market share and will benefit from any outcome of the consultation.

1. Cel-Fi’s relationship with Ofcom.

Ofcom acknowledges that there is currently only one manufacturer on the market which complies with the exemption regulation, and that is Cel-Fi. Cel-Fi has worked with Ofcom for several years to ensure that Cel-Fi products fall within licence-exempt regulation. This close working relationship puts us in very good standing when testing is introduced and when the list of approved mobile signal boosters is published on their website.

2. Ofcom will raise customer awareness about mobile signal boosters.

The high number of illegal products has clouded the public’s perception of mobile signal boosters. Many have been caught unwittingly using illegal boosters due to misunderstandings from vendors selling illegal merchandise or those misinterpreting the technical requirements published on mobile repeaters that fall within the licence exemption.

Ofcom has pledged to make these technical requirements more transparent and easier to understand. With Ofcom aiming to provide more clarity, the hope is that the perception and knowledge about mobile signal repeaters will change, awareness will grow, and more people will see licence-exempt mobile signal boosters as a viable and legal option to resolve their indoor mobile signal issues.

3. Cel-Fi’s established brand equity and product superiority.

Over the past few years, the only brand synonymous with Ofcom-compliant mobile signal boosters is Cel-Fi. With numerous installations and case studies across different industry sectors, Cel-Fi has an established track record of delivering quality indoor mobile signal solutions. Cel-Fi products are the most powerful signal enhancement solution in their class and deliver the highest gain per square foot. The state-of-the-art WAVE app makes the installation and set-up configuration easy and enables remote monitoring of the system. Regular software updates provide peace of mind that the solution is performing optimally.

4. Some of the proposed revisions will make our solutions even more cost-effective.

The consultation will also review the technical requirements and rules that define licence-exemption regulation. Under current regulation, a licence exempt repeater is configured to boost a single network (MNO) at a time. While it is currently possible to switch networks that a repeater is boosting, if the regulation is changed to include ‘multi-operator’ repeaters within UK Licence exemption, Cel-Fi is well placed to take advantage of this change and will be able to boost more than one network simultaneously. If implemented, Cel-Fi products will become even more cost-effective and commercially attractive for those in need of a multi-network solution.

5. Ofcom is clamping down on illegal booster sellers.

Illegal boosters, i.e.those that are not licence-exempt, are harmful to the mobile networks and cause interference with network performance. Ofcom has already started contacting vendors selling illegal equipment and in the process of shutting down the sale of illegal boosters. The publication of a list of licence-exempt mobile signal repeaters will put the authorised solutions at their fingertips and will go a long way in rebuilding the public’s perception about mobile signal boosters and their use thereof.

What Happens If I Install A Mobile Booster That Does Not Comply?

According to Ofcom: “Repeater devices transmit or re-transmit in the cellular frequency bands. Only the mobile network operators are licensed to use equipment that transmits in these bands. Installation or use of repeater devices by anyone without a licence is a criminal offence under Section 8 of the WT Act 2006. Any person found guilty of installing or using such devices without a licence would be liable on conviction to a fine of up to £5000 and/or up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment (Six months in Scotland and Northern Ireland).”

Frequency has been called to many premises where unlawful boosters disrupted the effectiveness of the Network’s performance and Ofcom inspectors demanded the booster to be removed.

What About Cel-Fi?

Cel-Fi products are the ONLY mobile signal boosters available on the market that are licence-exempt and fully comply with the regulatory requirements with Ofcom IR 2102 (UK) and ComReg S.I.No.283 of 2018 (Ireland).

Frequency Telecom is the master distributors of Cel-Fi products in the UK and Ireland. When you partner with Frequency and buy from us, you can be confident of buying a product that is UK licence-exempt, legal to use and comes with access to a UK technical support team who can help you every step of the way.

The Cel-Fi promise is to protect the operator’s network, deliver the best in-building mobile performance, and be the easiest solution to install.