Telecom industry body COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) has sent a letter to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) asking to take strict measures to curb the illegal sale repeaters and boosters, offline or online via e-commerce websites. The trade body has sought the government’s urgent intervention to “curb this menace”.
The body wants DoT to “Ensure complete ban on sale of these illegal repeaters and boosters, offline or online thru e-commerce websites/platforms through an appropriate notification to sellers of illegal repeaters in the country.”
In a letter dated April 16 to telecom secretary Anshu Prakash, COAI says that these illegal repeaters have “become a major nuisance” and one of the biggest causes for customers facing mobile network issues like call drops and low data speeds.
In the letter CIAI says that the telecom companies have been installing these boosters in areas where signal strength has been low after due inspection and ensuring that this does not interfere with the available spectrum. “As per established norms, Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) install such repeaters after thorough inspections, only after a request is raised or there is a requirement. The TSPs make sure that installing a repeater doesn’t hamper the network coverage for people outside the distribution area and does not interfere with other TSPs allotted spectrum frequency.”
The body has also urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to issue appropriate directions to state authorities to take action under law against the sellers of illegal repeaters in the country.
How these boosters hurt mobile and broadband users as per the COAI:
* The concern is that, such wide band devices draw in network signals to provide connectivity to a particular building or area in an unregulated manner, thereby depleting the network strength in other surrounding areas and results into call drops and depleted network quality.
* These illegal repeaters have become a major nuisance and are one of the biggest cause for customers facing mobile network issues like call drops and low data speeds, especially in densely populated localities.
* Even landlords and home owners are illegally installing such devices in densely populated areas to attract tenants, thereby adversely impacting mobile network availability in the entire given area, be it 2G, 3G or 4G networks.
The letter also adds that these boosters are hurting telecom companies who have spent large amount to buy spectrum. “As per the specifications of boosters and repeaters being sold online, these wide band devices enhance signals across the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300MHz and 2500 MHz licensed spectrum bands altogether, which are assigned by Department of Telecommunications only to the licensed telecom service providers which have been bought by the TSPs by paying hefty sums,” adds the letter.