The Centre on Monday said the use of cellular signal jammers, GPS blockers or other signal jamming devices is illegal, except specifically permitted by the government, warning e-commerce platforms against illegally selling such wireless mobile jammers online.
Alarmed at its open online sale, the department warned all e-commerce companies from selling or facilitating the sale of wireless jammers on their online platforms, stressing that private sector organisations or individuals cannot procure and use jammers in India.
The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) said that the use of cellular signal jammers, GPS blockers or other signal jamming devices is generally illegal, alerting the general public on the proper use of wireless jammers and booster/repeaters.
“It has also been stated that it is unlawful to advertise, sell, distribute, import or otherwise market signal jamming devices in India, except as permitted under the guidelines,” said the DoT.
With regards to signal booster/repeater, the department said it is unlawful to possess, sell or use mobile signal repeater/booster by any individual other than the licensed telecom service providers.
A mobile signal booster/repeater is a kind of amplifier, apparently used to improve cell phone signal reception.
However, unauthorised use of mobile phone boosters can adversely interfere with, and disrupt public telecommunication services by jeopardising 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,” said the DoT advisory.
Lt Gen Dr SP Kochhar, Director General of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said that citizens are unaware that buying, selling, installation and possession of Mobile Signal Boosters (MSBs) is an illegal and punishable offence under Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 and India Telegraph Act, 1885.
“Its 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,” Kochhar said in a statement.
This advisory will help spread awareness and make citizens cognisant of the debilitating effects that repeaters have on the overall network, he added.