The telecom department has warned against sale of wireless boosters by e-commerce platforms or illegal facilitation of wireless jammers, noting that only licensed telecom service providers are authorised to sell and install the equipment under present rules and regulations.
“The use of jammer, GPS blocker or other signal jamming device is generally illegal, except specifically permitted by Govemment of India,” the department of telecommunications said in an advisory issued on Monday.
“It is also unlawful to advertise, sell, distribute, import or otherwise market jammers in India, except as permitted under the above guidelines,” it added.
Wireless jammer or signal jammer intentionally jams or blocks 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi signals, GPS and other navigational communications by radiating strong radio energy of similar frequencies.
As per current rules, only state governments, defence forces, central police organizations can procure approved models approved and use jammers. Examination conducting government bodies are also allowed to install jammers from authorized vendors and approved models after prior permission from competent authority. But, private sector organisations and/ or private individuals cannot procure or use jammers in India.
Boosters or signal repeaters amplify signals, for improve cell phone signal reception. However, unauthorized use of mobile phone boosters can adversely interfere with, disrupt public telecommunication services by jeopardizing the quality and coverage of such services, the department said. This not only causes inconvenience to mobile phone users but can also hamper access to emergency call services from mobile phones, which creates a risk to public health and safety.
“It is unlawful to possess, sale, and/ or use mobile signal repeater/ booster by any individual/ entity other than the licensed telecom service. In case, consumers are experiencing problems with the quality of service/ connectivity issue, the concerned TSP should be contacted to address the issue,” the department added.
Cellular Operators Association of India, which represents telcos, welcomed the move stating that citizens are unaware that buying, selling, installation and possession of boosters was illegal and punishable offence under Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 and India Telegraph Act, 1885.
“The unauthorised use adversely interferes with telecom services and we are glad that the Government of India has recognised its significance in delivering a flawless network and telecom experience to citizens across the country,” said SP Kochhar, director general of COAI.
“This advisory will help spread awareness and make citizens cognisant of the debilitating effects that repeaters have on the overall network. Telecom service providers are committed to working with the government in its ambition to build a network which can help the telecom sector achieve its goal of digitally connected India,” he added.