How to boost your mobile reception

Readers with long memories might remember an article I wrote almost three years ago about legal ways to boost your mobile phone reception, and I’ve recently learned it’s become the most read article ever on PC Pro’s website. So, given this interest, and the three-year anniversary, I thought you might like an update on how things have moved on since then.

How to boost your mobile reception

The most important fact remains: if you search for mobile signal boosters on the web, most of the devices you’ll find are illegal. What has changed is that many of these mobile booster websites now claim their devices are exempt from the rules governing their use.

Let’s take the following statement from as an example:

“Are your kits legal?

If you search for mobile signal boosters on the web, most of the devices you’ll find are illegal

“Ofcom states that a licence is required to operate a product broadcasting in a mobile carriers [sic] radio spectrum. The reason for this is to avoid interference in the providers’ networks.

“However, as can be seen in Sec 1.2 in the link below, taken directly from the Ofcom website, our products are exempt from such licensing requirements, as they do not cause any such network interference.

“Indeed, many of our customers are referred to us directly from the network providers themselves, reflecting our trusted position within this industry for providing both high service and product quality.”

I’m not singling out this particular company, as many of its competitors make similar claims, but does have a bit of history with PC Pro.

The company refers its customers to a page on the Ofcom website, but if they dug a bit deeper they’d find a page that states:

“Installation or use of repeater devices (as with any radio equipment) is a criminal offence unless two conditions are satisfied:

1. That the equipment is CE marked, indicating that the manufacturer has declared it complies with all relevant EU regulatory requirements, including the Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (R&TTE) Directive;

2. That the use of the equipment is specifically authorised in the UK, either via a licence or by regulations made by Ofcom to exempt the use from licensing.

“The position is that Ofcom has not made regulations exempting the use of any cellular repeater devices and so their unlicensed use remains illegal in the UK. Also, it is a criminal offence to place on the market or use non-compliant R&TTE apparatus.

We are aware of the claims of some companies that… use of their apparatus is unlikely to involve undue interference, that their apparatus is R&TTE compliant, and even that it should somehow qualify for exemption from licensing. However, as noted above, no such exemption has been made, for the reason that we have evidence that repeaters are likely to cause interference. We have investigated several instances where serious interference has resulted from the illegal use of repeaters.

“Only the mobile network operators (MNOs) are licensed to use equipment that transmits in the cellular frequency bands.”

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