Building Owners and Cell Boosters – looking good

According to an article featured at the WilsonPro Blog, the FCC is considering issuing clear rules for business owners who want to provide great cellular coverage for their employees and customers. This is genuinely good news for everyone and it actually looks to eliminate a lot of the hypocrisy that was brought in with the current rules in 2014.

Before 2014, cell carriers and booster makers fought each other. Cell carriers said that boosters were against the rules. They said boosters couldn’t be used under any circumstance. Some carriers even threatened to turn off service for any customer who could be proven to have a cell booster.

I don’t blame the cell carriers because some of the early cell boosters were pretty bad. However, by the late 2000s all consumer cell boosters were already safe for everyone to use and it just took a little while for carriers to realize it.

In 2014, new rules took effect that made everyone play nice. To give you a quick rundown:

  • People have a legal right to have a cell booster if it meets certain technical guidelines..
  • However, they must register it with the cell companies.
  • Major manufacturers of cell boosters can pre-qualify their products with the carriers to make it easy for consumers.

It’s as simple as that, really. Companies like Wilson (makers of weBoost) and SureCall follow the rules, companies like AT&T and Verizon don’t complain if you use a booster.

The problem with businesses

The problem is that the rules only concern consumer use of boosters. They say that a consumer can operate a booster for their own benefit. They say that the booster is purchased by the consumer for their own use. Where does that leave a business?

By the strictest implementation of the rules, a business could only operate a booster for the phones the business owned. Obviously that’s not helpful.

Luckily for businesses there isn’t a dedicated police force that goes out and finds businesses who operate cell boosters. That doesn’t mean that businesses are in the clear though. There are several very large businesses who won’t implement cell boosters until the rules clearly say they can. That’s made it hard for that market segment to grow.

FCC to the rescue

The FCC is stepping in to resolve this loophole once and for all. The summary that they provide says that the following issues are will be corrected by proposed rules:

  • It will be legal to operate a cell booster for the benefit of others, not just for one’s own personal use.
  • It will be legal to operate a cell booster that boosts frequencies that you don’t personally use.

That second bit should also be good news for businesses and home users because cellular data uses more and more frequencies. While today’s cell boosters use a range of five frequencies, in the future a sixth range will open up. Not only that this rule could enable booster makers to cater to some of Sprint’s weird frequencies as well, opening up cell boosters for customers of the big yellow pin.

Our take

These new rules are definitely overdue. The 2014 rules help consumers and carriers alike, but only apply specifically to individual use. They were very good as far as they went but nothing is 100% futureproof. Cell phone use continues to rise and landline use continues to drop even in businesses. It’s time the FCC takes businesses into account. It’s very fair for businesses to feel comfortable that what they’re doing is completely legal, and these new rules make that possible.

By the way, if you’re a business looking for a cellular signal booster, check out the great selection at https://www.solidsignal.com or call us at 877.312.4547.