Signal Boosters may only be operated with the permission of wireless providers. Many wireless providers, including AT&T, Sprint, T–Mobile, Verizon, and many others, have agreed to allow the operation of consumer signal boosters that meet the FCC’s new rules. In addition, wireless providers need to provide a method for signal boosters to be registered by consumers before the signal boosters can be used. Learn about this process and other important information.
Consenting to the use of Consumer Signal Boosters
A subscriber must have the consent of a wireless provider to operate a Consumer Signal Booster. Subscribers may obtain provider consent in a variety of ways. For example, AT&T, Sprint, T–Mobile, and Verizon Wireless have voluntarily committed to allow their subscribers to use properly certificated Consumer Signal Boosters (i.e., boosters that meet the new rules) on their networks. Also, a signal booster manufacturer could seek authorization for use of a particular booster model on behalf of all subscribers of individual providers. Alternatively, a provider may specify a testing protocol that if satisfied would result in licensee consent to specific booster models. A subscriber may also seek a licensee’s express consent to operate a signal booster, e.g., by phone call or e-mail.
Registering Consumer Signal Boosters
By March 1, 2014, all wireless providers who voluntarily consent to the use of Consumer Signal Boosters on their networks must have established a free registration mechanism for their subscribers. Consumers who purchase wireless service from resellers must also register their boosters. Wireless providers must therefore establish a process for these consumers to register either directly with the serving provider (i.e., the underlying facilities-based provider) or with the applicable reseller.
At a minimum, wireless providers must collect:
- the name of the Consumer Signal Booster owner and/or operator, if different individuals;
- the make, model, and serial number of the device;
- the location of the device; and
- the date of initial operation.
Wireless providers may determine how to collect such information and how to keep it up–to–date. Providers that have not consented to the use of any Consumer Signal Boosters by March 1, 2014, must establish a free registration mechanism for their subscribers within 90 days of consenting to such use.
Reporting Requirements for Nationwide Wireless Providers
On March 1, 2015, and March 1, 2016, all nationwide wireless providers must publicly indicate their status regarding consent for each Consumer Signal Booster that has received FCC certification. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau will release a Public Notice listing all applicable Consumer Signal Boosters 30 days prior to the annual reporting date. For each listed Consumer Signal Booster, wireless providers should publicly indicate whether they:
- consent to use of the device;
- do not consent to use of the device; or
- are still considering whether or not they will consent to the use of the device.
This reporting requirement will provide the Commission with valuable information regarding providers’ treatment of Consumer Signal Boosters, including the level of consumer access.