AN illegal repeater found in the Port Lincoln marina is thought to be responsible for the Telstra service interference experienced by local customers recently.
Mobile repeaters are designed to replicate and improve mobile coverage in a poor signal level area and Telstra regularly uses the devices in its network.
Telstra has been investigating interference issues and believes it is due to people using illegal phone repeaters in an attempt to strengthen their mobile phone coverage.
“Telstra has five mobile base stations servicing the township and lately we have received customer complaints of poor service on our 3G mobile network near the golf course, the marina and Dublin Street,” Telstra SA area general manager Mark Bolton said.
He said after completing technical investigations the company believed the most likely cause to be mobile phone repeaters purchased cheaply overseas.
Mr Bolton said devices used without appropriate licences or technical specifications could interfere with mobile coverage for the wider community.
“In many cases these devices can be difficult to find due to inconsistent operation times or moving of locations,” he said.
“However, our technicians use sophisticated monitoring devices to identify the locations of these devices and recently found one operating within a boat on the marina.”
Mr Bolton said the cheap repeaters did not comply with Australian mobile network requirements and using them often resulted in the loss of data services across the local 3G network.
He said the most common outcome was degradation of coverage but boosters also had the potential to restrict access for calls to emergency services.
“In many instances these people are unaware that what they’re doing is illegal and anyone found in possession of an illegal repeater may face a fine of up to $360,000 which would be imposed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA),” Mr Bolton said.