Is Your Mobile Phone Signal Booster Breaking the Law?

Is Your Mobile Phone Signal Booster Breaking the Law?

Image - Hubspot stock photoFrustrating though it may be, it's not uncommon to experience poor mobile phone signal inside properties.

It's often down to a combination of modern construction materials, cavernous buildings, and location - but that's no consolation for you or your clients. A poor mobile phone signal is enough to drive clients out of your workspace.

So what can you do about it?

Some operators have turned to mobile signal boosters in the past. But did you know these can be illegal?

Ofcom has clamped down heavily on the use of mobile phone signal boosters inside office buildings, and some business centres have been fined for using them. Here's what your signal enhancement service probably neglected to tell you:

Mobile repeaters [also known as boosters, enhancers or amplifiers] are classed as radio apparatus and their use in the UK is regulated by the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006. It is unlawful to install or use this type of radio apparatus unless that is done under and in accordance with a specific wireless telegraphy licence granted by Ofcom; or Ofcom has made regulations exempting the installation or use from the requirement for a licence. - Ofcom

According to Ofcom, any unlicensed installation and use of such boosters puts users at risk of prosecution under the 2006 Act - which could leave operators facing a hefty fine of up to £5,000 and even a year in prison.

It goes without saying, it's not worth the risk.

Happily, there are various solutions to help your business centre improve the quality of internal mobile phone signals. One of them comes from OpenCell - a BCA Partner that specialises in providing legal connectivity for buildings with poor reception.

Graham Payne, CEO of OpenCell, has worked in the mobile industry since the inception of digital mobile working. He also led one of the most successful shared networks as Managing Director of MBNL - a joint venture between T-Mobile (now EE) and Three in the UK.

According to Graham, poor in-building mobile phone coverage is a growing problem due to modern construction materials. Yet at the same time, clients continue to rely heavily on mobile devices and, in many cases, opting for mobile technology over traditional desk-based hardware.

To resolve this problem and the worrying minefield of illegal signal 'boosters', OpenCell designs and installs solutions catered to specific operator needs, ranging from small business centres to larger buildings of up to 5,000m sq. OpenCell utilises new Femto Cell technology, which delivers 3G signal throughout the building compatible with all UK mobile network providers.

It's simply not an option to ignore clients' complaints of poor mobile phone reception, particularly for flexible workspace operators who rely on BYOD - such as coworking and hot-desk providers.

Nor is it simply a matter of clients voting with their feet. As discussed at this year's 2016 BCA Conference, the coworking revolution was the first phase in a workplace future of greater collaboration and cooperation. Consider Harvard economist Edward Glaeser who, in his book Triumph of the City, writes that we are facing a paradox in which "proximity has become ever more valuable as the cost of connecting across long distances has fallen."

It's been coined the 'Nerdopolis', and enhanced connectivity sits at the core of our working future. But more on that later.

For now, operators of all shapes and sizes must ensure that their mobile phone coverage is above average and, if it's not, don't simply opt for the quickest or cheapest solution (one of those could land yo

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