Improving mobile coverage is an important area of work for Ofcom, as highlighted in our 2014/15 Annual Plan. So, too, is ensuring that apparatus is used in accordance with the law.
As part of this work, Ofcom wants to develop a better understanding of the role end-user mobile coverage enhancers could play in improving indoor mobile coverage. Such solutions could sit alongside others such as femtocells and smart repeaters.
Ofcom is seeking to establish whether end-user repeaters having certain characteristics or used in certain circumstances might provide enhanced coverage solutions for consumers. This would have to be achieved without causing interference or other relevant adverse effects to mobile networks and/or other mobile users.
Ofcom intends to use the responses to this call for inputs to inform its future approach towards any use of self-installed mobile repeaters. This includes whether Ofcom should consider making changes that would permit the use of such repeaters under a licence exemption, and any conditions that should be attached.
a) The responses are respondents own views and opinions, not Ofcom's.
b) The responses are not statements of the law and Ofcom does not endorse their contents.
c) Ofcom does not endorse the use of mobile repeater devices. The law is that use of wireless telegraphy apparatus without a licence issued by Ofcom or in accordance with an exemption made by us is a criminal offence. Ofcom has not issued any licences nor made any exemptions for the use of repeaters. Ofcom is now considering whether to make an exemption in accordance with the relevant wireless telegraphy legislation but this does not provide a basis to use repeaters without a licence in the meantime.
Summary of Call For Input responses and recommended next steps
In this document we set out a recommended way forward for enabling consumers and businesses to benefit from the future use of mobile repeaters in improving mobile coverage where it is needed. We anticipate that the future use of these devices could play an important role, in particular in helping improve coverage inside buildings, vehicles, trains; and in more remote rural locations.
The recommended approach is based on industry stakeholders submitting to Ofcom devices whose use is not likely to involve undue interference to other mobile users. This would open the way for Ofcom to identify repeaters of particular descriptions that could be used by consumers in the UK on a licence exempt basis.
Ofcom is now actively working with mobile repeater manufacturers and UK network operators to determine a set of technical parameters that could potentially enable the introduction of regulations for user installed licence exempt mobile signal repeaters.
Ofcom will provide further updates as this project progresses.