DA # 02-401
Media Contact: John Winston
February 21, 2002
There are a variety of accessory antennas available for cellular telephones. One popular antenna accessory includes a flashing light on the tip of the antenna. The antenna accessories themselves are harmless, but the vendor-operated display devices used to demonstrate them can cause interference to licensed radio services.
Flashing Cellular Antenna Display units are used to show what the accessory looks like when it is activated. In the past year there has been an increase in the use of Flashing Cellular Antenna Displays. These display units send radio signals through several accessory antennas to make them flash. The radio signals from the Antenna Display units cause interference on cellular frequency bands. This interference is harmful to cellular communications and poses a threat to other services in near by frequency bands.
Devices that use radio frequency energy, such as these display units, require approval from the FCC prior to marketing or use. FCC approved devices can be identified by a permanently attached label stating compliance with FCC Part 15 requirements. At this time there are no FCC approved Flashing Cellular Antenna Displays.
Vendors operating Flashing Cellular Antenna Displays are advised to turn off these devices immediately. Operators of Flashing Cellular Antenna Displays are in violation of Section 302 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 302. These displays are not FCC certified and exceed the permitted emission levels under part 15 of the Commission's Rules. The use, marketing or importation of these displays is a violation of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. The FCC is currently investigating over two dozen cases of interference caused by these unapproved devices.
Parties in violation of these provisions may be subject to the penalties contained within Sections 501-510 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. §§ 501- 510. Fines for a first offense can range as high as $10,000 for each violation or imprisonment for up to one year. The radio equipment can also be seized and forfeited to the U.S. Government.
Enforcement Bureau contact Brett Greenwalt at (202) 418-1303.