IFC 02/2010: Review of Mobile Phone Jammer Prohibition | ACMA

IFC 02/2010: Review of Mobile Phone Jammer Prohibition

Review of Mobile Phone Jammer Prohibition

Submissions received

The public consultation period closed on 30 April 2010. The ACMA received 15 responses to the Discussion Paper (one of which was classified commercial-in-confidence). Copies of the submissions received are available below in PDF format.

  • Attorney-General's Department
  • Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association and Communications Alliance
  • Department of Defence
  • Department of Justice (Victoria)
  • Insight Telecommunications Consulting
  • NSW Department of Corrective Services / Kordia Solutions
  • RF Industries
  • SingTel Optus
  • SpectrumWise Radiocommunications Consulting
  • Telstra Corporation (1.5 mb)
  • Try Safety First Inc.; Attachment 1; Attachment 2
  • Vilicom
  • Vodafone Hutchinson Australia
  • Westwick-Farrow Media

Next steps

The ACMA is currently in the process of reviewing the submissions. If the ACMA decides that change to the current regulatory instruments is necessary, the ACMA will release for public comment the draft arrangements, along with draft explanatory statements.


Background

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) is reviewing the regulation of mobile phone jammers in Australia. As part of the review, the ACMA is also seeking views on a proposal to trial mobile phone jammers at the Lithgow Correctional Centre in NSW.

The ACMA has released a public discussion paper reviewing the scope and application of the Notification that the Australian Communications and Media Authority prohibits the operation or supply, or possession for the purpose of operation or supply, of specified devices (Mobile Phone Jammer Prohibition) and the regulation of mobile phone jammers in general. The discussion paper also provides background on a proposal by the NSW Government to trial mobile phone jammers in a correctional facility. The ACMA is considering the regulatory arrangements necessary to enable the proposed trial, including the making of an exemption determination under section 27 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992.

The potential use of mobile phone jammers in correctional facilities presents significant legal and technical challenges and provides a valuable case study for several of the regulatory issues raised in the discussion paper.

A link to the discussion paper is below:

Review of the Mobile Phone Jammer Prohibition: Public Discussion Paper - PDF format or Word format

Mobile Phone Jammer Prohibition

The Mobile Phone Jammer Prohibition generally prohibits the operation or supply, or possession for the purpose of operation or supply, of a device designed to operate within the frequency bands 870-960 MHz or 825-845 MHz and to interfere with radiocommunications or disrupt or disturb radiocommunications. These devices are commonly known as mobile phone jammers. Devices designed to facilitate a cellular mobile telephone service on board an aircraft have been explicitly excluded from this prohibition since January 2009.

The Mobile Phone Jammer Prohibition was made in 1999 with the understanding at that time that there were no legitimate uses for these 'nuisance devices'. Since then a number of legitimate uses have been identified. These include:

  • The use of jammers to prevent unlawful radiocommunications and other serious crime.
  • Testing and trialling of mobile phone jammers.

Why is a trial proposed?

The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) considered the issue of potential use of mobile phone jammers in correctional facilities in 2003, but concluded at that time that the disadvantages of deployment outweighed the advantages.

In June 2008 the Correctional Services Ministerial Council (CSMC) endorsed an action plan that once again presented deployment of mobile phone jammers in correctional facilities as a potential solution to prevent the illicit use of mobile phones by inmates. As a first step in the action plan, the correctional services community provided information to the ACMA regarding its operational requirements for the deployment of jammers in prisons. The submission, provided by the Corrective Services Administrators' Council (CSAC) in March 2009, highlighted the increased concerns of the Corrective Services community regarding this issue and requested reconsideration of the issue by the ACMA.

Related links

Last updated: 23 February 2017