Mobile boosters, (also known as signal boosters, repeaters, or amplifiers) are devices used to improve the strength and quality of indoor telecommunications signals received from the mobile network. In New Zealand, it’s mandatory for all mobile signal boosters to be approved by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) who are responsible for the radio frequency ranges being used.  

Before purchasing any mobile booster, you should check with your provider to make sure it meets their network requirements.  

There are many reasons why your home, workplace or vehicle may have poor mobile coverage. These include:  

  • Buildings: Buildings made with materials like concrete or metal can block cell phone signals, leading to weak or no signal inside.  
  • Underground areas: Basements, parking garages, and other underground areas can have weak or no cell phone signal. 
  • Rural areas: You may live on the edge or beyond the reach of a mobile network. 

If you are experiencing coverage problems with your mobile service, the first step is to check with your service provider for an approved solution before purchasing or using any third-party products. 

Why do mobile boosters require approval by law? 

In New Zealand, mobile networks are licensed to operate by the government under the Radiocommunications Act and as such are responsible for network equipment operating on those networks. Mobile Network Operators are responsible for approving mobile boosters to ensure they meet safety and compatibility standards.  

Unapproved mobile boosters may disrupt cellular service, potentially affecting users’ ability to connect with vital services such as emergency service. This interference can result in challenges when making crucial calls.     

It’s important to consult with your service provider to verify that the mobile booster you intend to purchase is approved. This helps ensure the booster is safe and can effectively operate within the cellular network without causing disruption. 

Some websites imply their products are approved for use on New Zealand mobile networks when they are not. Currently only Powertec sells mobile boosters (referred to as CEL-FI’s) that are approved by the New Zealand mobile networks for use on their networks. Mobile networks around the world use different frequency ranges, and it is important to choose a mobile signal booster that supports the radio frequencies of your network. 

What are the consequences of using an unapproved product?

Using unapproved mobile boosters can lead to network interference and potentially interfere with calling. Only approved mobile boosters have been tested to ensure they operate safely with existing cellular networks. The use of unapproved boosters can lead to network disruptions, affecting not only your service but also that of others. Use of an unapproved booster may result in  the seizure of the device and even fines. In severe cases, continued non-compliance could lead to prosecution. To avoid these issues, it’s crucial to consult with your MNO to determine which mobile boosters are approved for safe use in New Zealand. 

How do mobile boosters work? 

Mobile boosters work by capturing weak existing signals, amplifying them, and then rebroadcasting them to your device via the below process: 

  1. External antenna: This antenna captures the weak existing signal from the nearest cell tower. 
  1. Amplifier: This component boosts the signal strength. 
  1. Internal antenna: This antenna rebroadcasts the amplified signal to your phone. 
  1. Your phone: Your phone receives a stronger signal and is able to connect to the cell network more effectively. 

Benefits of using a mobile boosters can include:  

  • Improved call quality  
  • Fewer dropped calls 
  • Faster data speeds 
  • More reliable coverage 
  • Improved battery life. 

Other FAQs 

Can a mobile booster improve my WiFi signal? 

No. Mobile boosters work only with cellular networks, not WiFi. 

Can mobile boosters interfere with other devices? 

Yes. improper installation or malfunctioning boosters can interfere with other electronic devices. Follow manufacturer instructions and maintain proper distance from sensitive equipment. 

Do mobile boosters work in all buildings? 

It is best to talk to your service provider who may be able to help with a solution. 

Do I need to hire a professional to install the booster? 

While not always necessary, professional installation ensures optimal performance and minimises interference risks. 



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