Stepping up the fight against mobile phone jammers | ACMA

Stepping up the fight against mobile phone jammers

The ACMA is increasing its focus on compliance with declarations made under section 190 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992, which prohibit the possession, supply and operation of jamming devices that interfere with mobile phone networks and other radiocommunications services.

The internet provides consumers with easy access to a wide array of goods that are illegal in Australia because they have the potential to interfere with the country's radiocommunications network. Many consumers inadvertently purchase these goods without knowing the harmful effects they can have.

This year has seen a significant increase in the number of mobile phone jammers purchased over the internet from overseas suppliers and sent via the international mail stream to addresses in Australia. What many of the consumers purchasing these products may not realise is that mobile phone jammers, along with radionavigation-satellite service jammers (more commonly known as RNSS jammers), are prohibited devices in Australia under section 189 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992. Operation or supply, or possession for the purpose of operation or supply, of a device that a person knows is prohibited under the Act is a criminal offence and may result in penalties of two years imprisonment or 1,500 penalty units (currently $110 per penalty unit).

Mobile phone jammers that fall under the prohibition are those which are designed to operate within the frequency bands 870-960 MHz or 825-845 MHz and to intentionally interfere with radiocommunications or disrupt or disturb radiocommunications, especially cellular telephone base stations. RNSS jammers are designed to adversely affect, interfere with, disrupt or disturb the reception of RNSS radiocommunications by RNSS receivers such as GPS navigation type devices.

The ACMA is working with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and Australia Post to intercept prohibited devices before they reach the Australian market. Under Australia Post regulations, devices which are prohibited under a Commonwealth Act are forfeited to the Commonwealth.

The ACMA also undertakes periodic monitoring to identify Australian-based retailers advertising the sale of prohibited devices, focussing predominately on online sales. The effectiveness of this program is evidenced by the fact that retailers who have been contacted by the ACMA have voluntarily removed advertising from their websites and no longer sell these items to Australian consumers.

The ACMA is currently working with a number of organisations to explore other options to prevent the possession or sale of these devices to the Australian market including ways to detect these devices at Australian points-of-entry.

For more information on prohibited devices, visit the ACMA website.

Last updated: 26 February 2019