Issue for Comment 06/2011: Telecommunications (Prohibition of Mobile Phone Boosters) Declaration 2011 | ACMA

Issue for Comment 06/2011: Telecommunications (Prohibition of Mobile Phone Boosters) Declaration 2011

Public consultation on a proposed Declaration to Prohibit Mobile Phone Boosters

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 boosters.

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.

Submissions

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 boosters.declaration@acma.gov.au or by mail to:

Technical Regulation Development Section
Australian Communications and Media Authority
PO Box 13112
Law Courts
MELBOURNE VIC 8010

Submissions received

The public consultation period ended 6 April 2011. The ACMA received seven submissions:


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.

Last updated: 03 May 2016