These devices are usually in 3 parts; an external antenna similar to a TV antenna, an internal antenna that is placed inside the house and the repeater box itself, similar to a Wi-Fi modem placed in a home. The external antenna picks up the mobile phone signals outside the home then amplifies it inside the home giving the user improved indoor reception.
For a repeater to be sold and used in Ireland it must conform with the Radio Equipment Directive (RED) and comply with ComReg’s technical conditions.
These technical conditions are to insure that the device cannot cause harmful radio interference to Mobile Operator Networks.
Interference can affect the reception for people in the service area by blocking or dropping calls.
Devices that do not comply with these conditions are illegal to sell or operate in Ireland under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1926 to 2009.
Illegal devices will be confiscated where found and those in possession of illegal devices are liable on summary conviction to a Class A fine not exceed €5,000 or on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €250,000.
There are some online retailers selling repeaters that comply with ComReg’s technical conditions. A list of these manufacturers can be found here. ComReg will regularly review this list to ensure that it is kept up to date. A list of suppliers and installers can be found here.
There are no restrictions on who can install a repeater. The installation requires placing an external antenna outside the property. This may involve the use of ladders and power tools and knowledge on where the nearest mobile base station is for optimum setup. These can be located using ComReg’s siteviewer webpage.
While the setup is relatively straight forward, ComReg strongly recommends and advises having a professional installer conduct the installation. A list of suppliers and installers can be found here.
The price of repeaters can vary depending on how many services you want to cover e.g. call & texts only, data only or calls, texts and data. ComReg advises consumers to consider their needs before making a purchase. Please check back on ComReg’s website soon for a list of manufacturers and installers of these devices.
No, a licence or registration is not required.
While many devices are advertised as mobile phone boosters or repeaters both amplify mobile phone signals. However, only certain ones meet the required technical conditions set by ComReg. Illegal devices that do not meet these conditions can cause interference to the mobile network and even other consumer devices. Illegal devices will be seized by ComReg and users may be subject to prosecution.
Boosters are usually cheap amplifiers that do not have any built in mobile network interference protection. Most boosters also fail to comply with European Harmonised Standards and as such do not carry the CE mark.
Repeaters on the other hand, meet the required technical conditions and standards so they carry the CE mark.
If you have any phone signal outside your home and none inside, then the repeater will be able to take the outdoor signal and amplify it inside your home.
If you have no reception outside then it might still be possible for the repeater to pick up some signal using a highly directional and high gain antenna pointed at a base station. There are restrictions on the maximum power at which repeaters can transmit. In this situation it is recommended you consult with an installer.
This depends on your requirements.
Calls: – If you only want to make calls then a single band GSM Repeater is what you require. This may also be advertised as a 900 band repeater, this is because the 900 MHz band is used for GSM (call/texts) in Ireland.
Data:- For data a 3G (2100 MHz band) or 4G (800 MHz band) is what you require. This also depends on if 3G/4G is in your area. If you want calls & data then a multiband repeater is what you require.
ComReg has no restrictions on the number of network operators a repeater can amplify. If the residents at a property are all on different networks then a multi-operator repeater is probably best. However if indoor reception for one operator is fine but another is weak then it may be more convenient to purchase a single operator repeater.
While operators have been expanding and optimising their networks there has been a perception that indoor coverage is getting worse. Poor indoor reception can be caused by many factors including; location, building materials, frequency band, mobile handset and even the weather can affect coverage. Mobile phone signals are radio waves that must travel from a base station through open air, around buildings, trees, mountains etc. before arriving to your home. It then has to travel through the bricks and insulation in your home and back out again to the base station. ComReg has conducted studies on the effects different building materials have on mobile phone signals and have found that certain types of energy efficient insulation and windows have a detrimental effect on signal penetration. ComReg has also conducted testing on all the currently available mobile handsets and has found that certain phones have better antennas for making and receiving calls. This could result in one phone getting signal inside a home and another getting no service.
Yes and if you have a multi-operator repeater the device will be able to handle calls on different networks at the same time.
There is no limit on the number of phones or devices the repeater can handle. The number of phones that can make a call at any given time is down to the nearby base station. The repeater simply amplifies the phone and base station signals.
The repeater must comply with EU standards for harmonisation so it will not cause interference.
No. WiFi devices work off different frequencies to mobile phones so the repeater cannot cause interference to your home WiFi network.
No. Digital TV and Satellite TV both work off different radio signals to mobile phones.
No. Wireless cameras, doorbells, gates etc. all work off different radio frequencies to those used by mobile phones and base stations.
Find more information on Mobile Phone Repeaters in the ComReg Response to Consultation and Decision here.
Commission for Communications Regulation,
One Dockland Central, Guild Street,
Dublin, D01 E4X0