YANCHEP residents have done a survey to show how poor mobile reception is in their area, which Telstra says could result from illegal booster interference.
Allan and Lyn Chapman, along with neighbours Winifred Tilbury and Peter Stainthorpe, held the informal survey and provided results to the Two Rocks Yanchep Residents Association (TRYRA) at its June 26 meeting.
They sought the group’s support to lobby the main provider in the area, Telstra, and the Federal Government to improve services across Yanchep and Two Rocks.
Mr Chapman said he had contacted Telstra about reception issues and been told a variety of factors, including topography and roof material, could affect mobile reception.
However, he said the results of their survey found some people experienced poor reception regardless of whether their home was on a rise or in a dip.
Mr Chapman said the survey looked at a random sample of people in the Ocean Lagoon estate in the southern part of Yanchep.
“The locations included high, medium and low topography,” he said.
“The survey was based on strength of reception – we spoke to (people) in regard to the number of bars that they had on their telephone.”
53 people ranging from retirees to home-based people, tradespeople and wage earners took part in the survey. Mr Chapman said 75 per cent of those were connected to Telstra.
“The outcome was 85 per cent were on zero to two bars – nil reception or very weak reception,” he said.
“Fifteen per cent were on three to five bars – three would have been acceptable.
“It’s certainly not servicing our needs as a community.
“I’m hearing about Two Rocks having the same problem.”
Mr Chapman said some people could get signals only in certain parts of their homes, while others had to go into the street to get it, and most of those using other providers had zero bars of signal.
He asked TRYRA to write to Pearce MHR Christian Porter outlining the concerns, which it agreed to do.
Telstra area general manager Boyd Brown said the provider had six base stations providing mobile coverage across Two Rocks and Yanchep.
Mr Brown said the activation of a seventh base station in Alkimos this month would also support mobile coverage in the area.
He said Telstra had recently upgraded most of these base stations to a faster 4GX service to enhance capacity and mobile coverage.
“Telstra is constantly monitoring traffic trends and network performance on our mobile networks and we are always trying to improve the service,” he said.
“We are also looking at other projects in the area to boost coverage and capacity, but these are still in the early stages of planning.”
Mr Brown said external interference to the mobile network in the region was a concern as it compromised the mobile signal for some people.
He said Telstra would hold more tests in the area to pinpoint the source of the interference, which was most likely an illegal booster system.
TELSTRA WARNING ON ILLEGAL MOBILE DEVICES
TELSTRA is warning residents in Yanchep and Two Rocks about the illegal use of mobile repeater devices which can cause major interference to coverage on its network.
Mobile repeater devices are designed to replicate and improve the mobile signal, but those used without the appropriate licences and technical specifications can interfere with mobile coverage.
Area general manager Boyd Brown said the warning followed a recent investigation by Telstra into external interference being detected near the Two Rocks base station.
Mr Brown said the illegal use of the devices could cause significant mobile coverage issues for local communities and had even been known to knock out coverage to an entire area.
“People use these devices to improve their own mobile signal, however they may not realise that they’re interfering with the mobile coverage for the wider community,” he said.
“In many instances these people are unaware that what they’re doing is illegal.
“While some people in an area might not notice a change, often those towards the edge of a coverage area will notice they don’t have coverage, which may impact on their ability to make emergency calls.
“Obviously there could be very serious consequences and anyone illegally using mobile phone repeaters need to be aware that their actions in breaking the law carries severe penalties.”
Mr Brown said there had been many instances of these illegal devices being detected in WA on a monthly basis.
“The reality is that there is a much greater proportion of these devices being used than what we are able to locate and shut down,” he said.
“Unfortunately they are easily available through the internet and they continue to pose a serious threat to network performance and customer experience in regional areas.”
The provider is now selling the first specialised repeater device – the Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna – which is legal to use on its network and designed to not cause interference to others.
“If customers do live in an area where coverage is inconsistent, we’d suggest they look into the Telstra Mobile Smart Antenna” Mr Brown said.