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Interference to mobile phones

Interference to mobile phone networks can cause problems when you use your mobile phone. 

Interference to mobile phones

Your mobile phone connects to a mobile network through mobile phone towers. Interference in the network can cause your mobile phone to have problems with:

  • sound
  • connection
  • calls that drop out
  • slow data download

We treat interference as a serious risk to public safety as it can stop you from making a call to emergency services.

Causes of mobile phone interference

The following are common causes of mobile phone interference:

  • Illegal mobile phone repeaters. These devices can disrupt mobile phone networks if used without permission from a telco.  
  • Mobile phone boosters. These devices attach to a mobile phone and ‘boost’ the signal the phone can receive. It is illegal to own or operate a booster as these devices weaken how the network performs. 
  • TV antennas with masthead and distribution amplifiers. These devices boost the level of signal received at a TV antenna. These amplifiers can cause radio signal interference that disrupt mobile phone networks.
  • Devices designed for use overseas. Devices bought overseas such as two-way radios, phones or wireless headphones may be illegal to use in Australia. These devices may use different radio frequencies which can cause issues for our mobile phone networks.

Get the best reception from your mobile network

If you are experiencing mobile interference you should first contact your telco to see if they can help. Telcos have products that can help to improve mobile phone performance. 

You can also talk to your telco about how to improve your mobile reception when you drive in remote areas with poor network coverage. They may recommend solutions like mobile hands-free car kits with external antennas. 

Our role with mobile networks

We regulate telecommunications and radiocommunications in Australia. This includes mobile phone networks and interference to these networks.

A telco may contact you if they believe a device you are using is causing interference to their mobile phone network. We encourage you to work with the telco to try and find what is causing the interference and then help them to solve the problem. 

If you do not work with the telco to solve the problem, they can start legal action or ask us to investigate. 

To resolve interference issues, we can: 

  • apply to a magistrate for a search warrant
  • conduct emergency searches or seizures
  • enter unoccupied premises and adjust transmitters in emergencies

Penalties for using illegal devices

There are penalties for causing interference to mobile networks with illegal devices. You cannot use devices like mobile phone boosters or illegal repeaters in Australia. 

Find out more about the devices we prohibit.

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