Ofcom announces new rules for mobile phone repeaters
Written by: Charlotte Hathway | Published:

Ofcom has made changes to the technical requirements for using mobile phone repeaters in vehicles.

Mobile repeaters help improve reception, and the new technical specifications allow for increases to the maximum system gain allowed and the use of a wider range of frequencies for in-vehicle repeaters.

These measures are designed to help improve mobile reception, without the need to get a licence.

The Wireless Telegraphy (Mobile Repeater) (Exemption) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 will come into force on 27 January 2020, and will update existing UK Interface Requirements for in-vehicle repeaters by:

  • increasing the maximum gain limits from 21 to 36dB in relevant frequency bands above 1GHz
  • increasing the maximum gain limits from 15 to 30dB in relevant frequency bands below 1GHz
  • including the 2.6GHz frequency-division duplex (FDD) band in the list of licence-exempt frequency bands

The regulator has said it has implemented these changes in recognition of the difficulty some users have in accessing mobile networks from a vehicle, particularly where they are travelling at the edge of mobile network coverage.

If the mobile signal is already weak outdoors and must then penetrate through the glass and bodywork of the vehicle, once inside, it may fall below a usable level. In-vehicle mobile phone repeaters, also known as signal boosters and signal enhancers, can help to mitigate the loss of the mobile signal through the car’s bodywork.

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