Australia: Mobile phone boosters given the boot

Users of mobile phones will face hefty fines if caught using boosters to enhance coverage and performance, following the Australian Communications Authority's decision to ban the devices.

Users of mobile phones will face hefty fines if caught using boosters to enhance coverage and performance, following the Australian Communications Authority's decision to ban the devices.

AUSTRALIA (ZDNet Australia)--The government telecommunications regulator says the prohibition has been put in place because the mobile phone devices--commonly known as boosters--do not comply with ACA standards.

Boosters are used to enhance coverage and performance of GSM and CDMA mobile phones. However, non-compliant boosters can cause interference to networks in regional areas, leading to call dropouts.

"The devices could potentially put lives at risk where people were trying to call emergency services and access was restricted because boosters were being used," ACA Chairman Tony Shaw said.

Users of mobile phones could be fined up to AU$220,000 if found in the possession of a booster device. The supply of non-compliant boosters is also prohibited.

Telstra carried out extensive testing for ACA last week but showed there was no improvement to mobile phone use when using boosters.

All boosters were found to cause significant interference to the network and other customer calls, under various conditions.

Tim Buckley, Telstra's CDMA Director, says the use of illegal boosters jeopardised Telstra's ability to provide the best possible service to its CDMA customers.