Are Cellular Signal Boosters And Amplifiers Allowed By Wireless Carriers and the FCC?
Cellular boosters, signal boosters, or wireless amplifiers for M2M Modems and WWAN Wireless Routers need to be functional in a manner acceptable to the wireless carriers including Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, Vodafone, T-Mobile, and others. Additionally, government communications groups also dictate the types and use of signal boosters.
Effective February 20, 2013, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a report on an order which requires, among other things, that all registrations for new permits to manufacture boosters follow a standard. https://www.fcc.gov/document/use-and-design-signal-boosters-report-and-order.
Beginning on March 1, 2014, the FCC requires new cell site protection standards are met. As of March 1, 2014, all M2M modem boosters, industrial signal boosters, and Part 90 signal boosters must meet these certification requirements in order to be manufactured and sold. USAT has boosters that meet these requirements today, such as those made by Wilson Electronics.
The FCC defines Industrial Signal Boosters as follows: “Industrial Signal Boosters include a wide variety of devices that are designed for installation by licensees or professional installers. These devices are typically designed to serve multiple users simultaneously and cover larger areas such as stadiums, airports, office buildings, hospitals, tunnels, and educational campuses. Industrial Signal Boosters sold and marketed starting on March 1, 2014, must meet new FCC requirements.” (FCC.gov)
The FCC defines Part 90 Signal Boosters as follows: “Part 90 Signal Boosters are a type of Industrial Signal Booster. Part 90 Signal Boosters sold and marketed starting on March 1, 2014, must meet new FCC requirements. In addition, Class B Signal Boosters must be registered directly with the FCC before being used.”
Part 90 Signal Booster Classifications
- Class A signal booster. A signal booster designed to retransmit signals on one or more specific channels. A signal booster is deemed to be a Class A signal booster if none of its passbands exceed 75 kHz
- Class B signal booster. A signal booster designed to retransmit any signals within a wide frequency band. A signal booster is deemed to be a Class B signal booster if it has a passband that exceeds 75 kHz. (FCC.gov)
The FCC is also issuing guidance as to the use of cellular signal boosters by consumers. Effective February 20, 2013, the FCC the FCC issued a Report and Order “that includes rules and policies that will enhance wireless coverage for consumers, particularly in rural, underserved, and difficult-to-serve areas by broadening the availability of signal boosters while ensuring that boosters do not adversely affect wireless networks.” (FCC.gov)
Most wireless carriers active in the US, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, will authorize the use of these new cellular boosters. New boosters/amplifiers should have this label:
BEFORE USE, you MUST REGISTER THIS DEVICE with your wireless provider and have your provider’s consent. Most wireless providers consent to the use of signal boosters. Some providers may consent to the use of this device on their network. If you are unsure, contact your provider.
You MUST operate this device with approved antennas and cables as specified by the manufacturer. Antennas MUST be installed at least 20 cm (8 inches) from any person.
You MUST cease operating this device immediately if requested by the FCC or a licensed wireless service provider.
WARNING. E911 location information may not be provided or may be inaccurate for calls served by using this device.
Note: The label above is an example provided by the FCC. Booster manufacturers may follow a different format, however, they will need to include the content listed in the label above.
Contact your USAT wireless team for more info on the proper types and use of cellular signal boosters in the United States.