The legality of mobile boosters: An overview of UK legislation and the consequences of using illegal devices

Mobile repeaters, which boost cell phone signals, have gained attention in the UK due to widespread issues with poor connectivity. This problem stems from a high number of users, outdated infrastructure, and buildings constructed with materials that block signals. UK law sets clear rules for using mobile signal boosters, and it’s important to understand that unlicensed use can lead to serious consequences, including severe penalties. For any concerns about the legality of mobile signal boosters in the UK, contact Ofcom at for guidance.

Legislation and Its Requirements

Under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 and Ofcom’s requirements, two types of cell phone repeaters are permitted in the UK without a license: indoor and vehicle. On November 4, 2021, Ofcom clarified the technical requirements for fixed indoor signal amplifiers and low gain repeaters for use in vehicles. Under these changes, it remains illegal to use “wildband” repeaters without a license. For more on authorized mobile repeaters in rural areas, read TechRadar

In 2021, Ofcom set out regulations on the use of the two main types of mobile repeaters, allowing them to be used without the need for a license. The new regulation relates to their functional features:

  1. Repeaters to amplify the signal from one specific cell phone provider. These are repeaters that receive a strong signal from a single provider outside and broadcast the enhanced signal indoors — so you can increase mobile coverage, for example, in underground parking lots or in remote warehouses or production facilities.
  2. Repeaters with multiple operators — these differ from single-operator models in that they support work with multiple operators at the same time. This type should be considered as a good solution in areas where residents use services of different mobile operators — shopping centers, transport interchanges, public places of urban infrastructure. 

A Guide to Legal and Effective Signal Boosting

When choosing a mobile repeater, it’s important for consumers to consider the device’s intended use and verify that it complies with Ofcom’s regulations. UCtel experts have provided a list of license-exempt repeaters from various manufacturers. Each device on this list has been certified by an accredited laboratory, ensuring it meets the necessary technical standards. This guide is designed to streamline your search for a compliant booster, sparing you the complexity of licensing.


Model Supported Networks/Coverage Recommended Place to Use


EGSM 900, DCS 1800, 3G 2100. Coverage: up to 1500 square meters Small House or Office


EGSM 900, DCS 1800, 3G 2100, 4G LTE 800. Coverage: up to 1500 square meters Home or Office


5G NR 700, EGSM 900, DCS 1800, 3G 2100, 4G LTE 800. Coverage: up to 1500 square meters Office
Nextivity G41-9E

Nextivity Inc.

2G, 3G, 4G, 5G. Coverage: up to 3000 square meters Commercial & Government Buildings, Small Manufacturing Operations, Agricultural Facilities, Rural Areas, IoT Applications, Medium Business and Homes
Nextivity Quatra 4000e

Nextivity Inc.

2G, 3G, 4G, 5G. Coverage: up to 11,600 square meters
Nextivity Connect C41

Nextivity Inc.

2G, 3G, 4G, 5G. Coverage: 2-5 rooms Home or Office
Nextivity Quatra Evo

Nextivity Inc.

2G, 3G, 4G, 5G. Coverage: up to 125,000 square feet
StellaHome Repeater

StellaDoradus Europe Ltd

2G, 3G, 4G, 5G. Coverage: 2-5 rooms Small House or Office


Note: As the list of licensed boosters is incomplete, it’s highly recommended that users visit Ofcom’s website or contact them directly for advice on the legality of using mobile signal boosters in the UK before making a purchase.

Consequences of Using Illegal Devices

Imagine unrestricted use of radio wave amplifiers — no limits on power, frequency, or location. Such a world would quickly become chaotic. A barrage of signals would interfere with each other, leading to a noisy mess of radio transmissions. The fallout could be catastrophic: planes might crash, trains could miss stops, and electric cars might malfunction and catch fire at charging stations. This is why the use of radio equipment, vital for both civilian and military security, is strictly regulated. Ignoring these laws, particularly when using unlicensed mobile signal boosters, can result in harsh penalties, including fines up to £5,000 or even a year in prison.

Here are three examples you can’t modify cell phone amplifiers on your own:

  1. Changing the radio frequency range.
  2. Increasing the power of the amplifier.
  3. Using non-certified devices, such as self-made generators or radio wave catchers.

Experts at Uctel argue that the 2006 legislation, which governs the technical specifications and uses of signal boosters, is outdated despite updates. They attribute this to rapid technological advancements and suggest expanding the frequency range and power of boosters. However, until the laws adapt to these changes, it remains crucial to ensure that any mobile booster in use is legal and adheres to local laws and regulations to avoid potential legal issues.

How to Prevent Problems with the Law

To ensure trouble-free use of mobile repeaters, it’s essential to follow guidelines similar to those governing the purchase, use, and possession of firearms. Start by choosing a device that is legal in your jurisdiction. This ensures that you’re not only abiding by the law, but also that you’ll have a reliable piece of equipment. Furthermore, choosing a legal device often means you’ll receive technical support from both the manufacturer and your cell phone provider, which can be invaluable if issues arise.

The variety of devices of different types and characteristics can make it difficult to choose a device because of its variety. The answer is to focus on the scale of the problem you are solving with the booster, then, consider your budget. Experts can help you make the right choice, read reviews, and last but not least, seek advice from the manufacturers or cell phone providers in your area. To determine which mobile operators provide the best coverage and hence the strongest indoor signal in your area, consider using tools like Ofcom’s checker.

Read also: How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Web App Like Omgflix?

Key Points

The production and use of telecommunications technology in the UK is as tightly regulated as arms, finance, and medicine — these are matters of national security. In the field of mobile signal boosters, the rules are established by the regulating body Ofcom. The regulator, and the full force of the state at its back, is on the side of the consumer as long as he follows the rules: he buys a licensed booster, uses it as intended, and does not try to modify it. Failure to follow these rules is guaranteed to result in heavy fines, up to and including jail time. If you’re unsure about the legal status of mobile signal boosters in the UK or have questions regarding their selection, use, or disposal, it’s best to seek information from reliable sources: government agencies, industry experts, device manufacturers, and telecom service providers.

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