Unlicensed Signal Boosters Get a Boost From Amazon

Wired | 8/30/2019 | Staff
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If Khanifar tried to register the unauthorized booster with his carrier, it may not have permitted him to use it. The FCC requires everyone register their boosters—including older models purchased before its rules went into effect in 2014 and were grandfathered in. If Khanifar ran the booster anyway and it caused interference, his wireless carrier or the FCC could come to his house and ask him to shut it down. Either way, it would mean he spent nearly $200 on a device he wasn’t permitted to actually use.

Khanifar believes Amazon could be doing more to help consumers. “Amazon should at least require people to list the FCC ID on the page very clearly,” he says.

WIRED - Vendors - Amazon - Boosters - FCC

WIRED found six third-party vendors on Amazon selling signal boosters that when cross-referenced with the FCC’s database appear to be unauthorized, including KKBSTR, SH·W·CELL, HJCINTL, Phonelex, Subroad, and MingColl. Each one had associated trademarks registered to an individual or company located in China.

Many sellers were appropriating reviews from other Amazon products, a common tactic used by sellers to make their goods appear more popular than they actually are. “This is the second time I purchased these curtains. I love them,” one reviewer supposedly said about a Phonelex booster, for example, that has since been removed. On the Amazon page for a since-deleted HJCINTL device, a number of reviews referenced replacement wheels for rolling suitcases. One five-star review of a SH·W·CELL booster said “I absolutely love my new bling case for my iPhone 7 plus!” The manufacturers themselves are difficult to reach, and don’t appear to have company websites.

Reviews - Boosters - Customers - Boosters - Interference

In reviews that appeared to actually be about signal boosters, some customers noted the boosters had caused interference issues. “ATT service tech knocked on my door and said this unit screwed up three cell towers in my area,” one...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Wired
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