Public consultation on a proposed Declaration to Prohibit Mobile Phone
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) is seeking
comment on the
Telecommunications (Prohibition of Mobile Phone Boosters) Declaration 2011
(the proposed Declaration).
The proposed Declaration prohibits the operation or supply, or possession
for the purpose of operation or supply, of mobile phone boosters which are
designed or intended to be used in connection with the supply of public mobile
telecommunication services (PMTS).
PMTS is defined in section 32 of the Telecommunications Act 1997.
It includes all existing mobile telecommunications services including third
generation (3G) mobile technologies.
The development of the proposed Declaration follows on from a submission to
the ACMA from Communications Alliance to amend the existing Mobile
Phone Boosters Declaration. The existing Mobile Phone Boosters Declaration
prohibits mobile phone boosters designed to operate in the frequency bands used
by GSM and CDMA.
The proposed Declaration is intended to be technology neutral; that is,
whilst it is specific to equipment used in connection with the supply of PMTS
it does not, like the existing Declaration, specify particular mobile network
technologies. In this way, the proposed Declaration will be adaptable to
technology developments, such as the introduction of Long Term Evolution (LTE)
technology that will likely be used for the future supply of PMTS.
This approach will allow the proposed Declaration to continue to achieve the
intended purpose of protecting the integrity of mobile telecommunications
networks and safeguarding end-users through the prohibition of mobile phone
Customer Equipment not covered by the proposed Declaration
Cellular Mobile Repeaters (repeater/s)
A repeater is a fixed active device that may be used in mobile networks, and
is designed to regenerate or replicate a mobile signal. Repeaters differ from
mobile phone boosters in their method of connection with a mobile station.
While mobile phone boosters use a physical wired connection to a single mobile
station, repeaters are designed to communicate with multiple mobile stations by
means of radiofrequency energy. Repeaters are used by carriers as part of their
ordinary network management. Repeaters can also be (illegally) used by
end-users without carrier permission. When used without carrier permission,
repeaters can cause similar problems to boosters.
Incorporating repeaters into the scope of this Declaration was considered by
the ACMA during its development. This was because repeaters share similar end
functionality to that of a mobile phone booster. Both types of devices, when
used inappropriately, have been identified by the telecommunications industry
as having a significant detrimental effect on network integrity and
consequentially may have an impact on safety of life.
However, the ACMA does not believe that including repeaters within the scope
of the Declaration is appropriate because this would place unwarranted
restrictions on the lawful use of the device.
The ACMA is currently considering other regulatory approaches to address the
unauthorised use of repeaters.
Members of the public were encouraged to submit their comments on the
proposed Declaration to the ACMA by close of business 6 April 2011. Submissions
should be sent to email@example.com or by mail to:
Technical Regulation Development Section
Australian Communications and Media Authority
PO Box 13112
MELBOURNE VIC 8010
The public consultation period ended 6 April 2011. The ACMA received seven
Publication of submissions
In general, the ACMA publishes all submissions it receives.
The ACMA prefers to receive submissions which are not claimed to be
confidential. However, the ACMA accepts that a submitter may sometimes wish to
provide information in confidence. In these circumstances, submitters are asked
to identify the material over which confidentiality is claimed and provide a
written explanation for confidentiality claims.
The ACMA will consider each claim for confidentiality on a case by case
basis. If the ACMA accepts a confidentiality claim, it will not publish the
confidential information unless required to do so by law.
When can ACMA be required by law to release information?
Any submissions provided to the ACMA may be released under the Freedom
of Information Act 1982. The ACMA may also be required to release
submissions for other reasons including for the purpose of parliamentary
processes or where otherwise required by law (for example a court subpoena).
While the ACMA seeks to consult submitters of confidential information before
that information is provided to another body or agency, the ACMA cannot
guarantee that confidential information will not be released through these or
other legal means.