An assessment of the effects of repeaters on mobile networks

17 November 2015

Helping to improve mobile coverage is a strategic priority for Ofcom.

Repeaters may have an important role here by helping to extend coverage to more difficult to reach locations in rural areas, buildings and vehicles. However, they may also cause interference or adverse effects to other users. Given this, we commissioned this study to better understand the potential for interference or other effects that repeaters can cause to mobile users.

The study highlighted that the technical operation of many of the consumer repeaters currently sold in the horizontal retail market can affect the experience of other mobile users, in particular when used within a few hundred metres of other mobile operators’ base stations. However, the study also indicated that, with some modifications to their technical functionalities, there is the potential for repeaters to be used to improve mobile coverage whilst having negligible effect on other users.

Ofcom's technical programme enables us to keep up to date with technologies and trends, so that we can be in the best possible position to exercise our regulatory functions. In many cases, we do not conduct investigations in-house but make use of external resources, such as private commercial organisations, university departments and government funded research institutions. These reports present the findings of their technical work. The opinions and conclusions stated within these reports are those of the organisations who conducted the work and may not reflect the view of Ofcom or imply any future policy work in related areas. Ofcom is not responsible for the content or accuracy of these reports.

Full report

An Assessment of the Effects of Repeaters on Mobile Networks (PDF, 1.0 MB)
A report for Ofcom by PA Consulting Group