Is it legal to use a cell booster for your business?

It seems like a silly question, but it’s a good one. In fact until this spring it wasn’t technically legal. It wasn’t technically illegal either but there was enough confusion that some companies felt they couldn’t wait. Good news though, and I’ll put it in big letters:

Cellular Signal Boosters are legal for business use.

The problem comes back to the rules that were published back in 2014, and that means we have to talk a little history.

Back in the old days, cellular signal boosters were sort of the “bad boys” of the cell world. Officially, none of the major carriers supported them and they even told you that the use of cellular signal boosters would void your phone’s warranty and even open you up to criminal charges. The distrust between carriers and booster makers goes back to the beginning of the century.

Jeez, one overloaded tower and everyone gets upset.

Seriously though, early cell boosters didn’t carry any sort of overload or feedback protection. If you used a booster in a location that didn’t need one, there was a possibility that you’d set up a feedback loop. Increasing amounts of signal would be sent to a cell tower, and eventually that tower would overload. This actually happened and needless to say the cell companies weren’t all too happy with it.

There was even a small chance back in those days that the overloaded tower could send feedback throughout the cell network and take everything down. Remember this was the time right after Y2K and 9/11 and a lot of people were soft of on edge about anything that threatened our national infrastructure.

It took almost a generation for things to settle down. Finally, in 2014 the FCC announced new rules for consumer cellular boosters. The FCC, Wilson Electronics (makers of weBoost) and several other companies all cooperated to come up with some common sense rules, like:

  • You have to tell your cell company if you have a booster.
  • The booster has to have automatic feedback protection.
  • Every booster has to be sold in a kit with everything you need.

That was all good stuff, as far as it went.

There was only one little problem…

The rules were designed to cover consumer cellular boosters for personal use. There really weren’t any rules at all having to do with business cellular boosters, or boosters you operated for someone else’s use. We definitely all agreed that it was legal to put a cell booster in your home but there was no official word about whether it was legal to put a booster in your shopping center so the people who visited could get great service too.

That finally changed this year.

In March, the FCC changed the language somewhat. They officially lifted the “personal use restriction” on cellular signal boosters. There is absolutely no question now that you can operate a cell booster in a business. Even better, they’re moving forward to make sure that new frequencies and new technologies are covered by the existing rules. This is going to make it possible to use 5G in homes and businesses when that technology is available.

If you’re looking for a large-scale cellular signal booster for your business, you don’t have to rely on internet chatter. Our team at Solid Signal can recommend the best system for you and give you advice on whether you should install it yourself or hire a local installer. We can even provide referrals!

It starts with a call to Solid Signal at 888-233-7563.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.