Illegal wireless devices cause concern | ACMA

Illegal wireless devices cause concern

31 October 2012

Wireless devices operating illegally in the mobile phone spectrum allocated to the major carriers are causing concern for the ACMA, particularly in regional and remote areas.

Between July and October this year, the ACMA dealt with 98 reports of wireless devices interfering with mobile carrier networks-36 were in regional and remote areas. In a growing number of these cases, ACMA field staff found individuals and industry using wireless local area networks (WLAN) links in the 900 MHz spectrum band to extend a computer network or an internet connection, sometimes over several kilometres. The 900 MHz band has been used successfully by the major telecommunications carriers to deliver digital mobile phone services across Australia for nearly two decades.

The ACMA is also concerned that the wireless devices are often being supplied to the market configured to operate outside the Australian spectrum set aside for them. Interference has mostly occurred when equipment designed in the United States for use in the 902-928 MHz frequency range is commissioned in Australia without the necessary frequency range reduction to comply with the relevant class licence and equipment standards. In Australia, the relevant frequency range is limited to 915-928 MHz because digital mobile phone services operate below 915 MHz.

As a result, the ACMA is pursuing suppliers of equipment that caused the recent interference to ensure that their equipment is complying with the required Australian standards.

The ACMA reported responding to 255 reports of interference to mobile telecommunications networks in 2011-12, an increase from 238 the previous year. A significant number of the sources of interference to these networks were found to be wireless devices operating illegally within the spectrum allocated to mobile carriers.

Further information about the relevant class licence and short-range devices standard is available in a fact sheet on the ACMA website.

Last updated: 11 February 2016