On Friday, the Department of Telecom (DoT) wrote to the Customs department regarding unauthorised sales of mobile signal boosters by e-commerce firms. It sought strict import rules to curb these practices.
As per PTI, in a letter to the Chief Commissioner of Customs and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) chairman, DoT stated that it has come to the notice and has also been reported by the Intelligence Bureau about select walkie-talkie sets available for sale some e-commerce portals. These are listed without any compliance with the regulatory requirements framed by the department.
The walkie-talkie sets and mobile signal boosters fall under transmission apparatus incorporating reception apparatus that is not allowed to be important sans a licence. The letter noted the department urging the Customs to take action against this violation and to restrict the import of such unauthorised wireless equipment such as repeaters or boosters of mobile signals in India. It is urged to be strict in enforcing the provisions mentioned in the DGFT import policy.
Raid For Unauthorised Equipment
In February this year, DoT’s wireless technology monitoring group took down 140 illegal mobile signal boosters in a week-long raid in the capital city. DoT’s group raided several parts of Delhi such as Nehru Place, Connaught Place, and Hauz Khas between February 18 and 24 for the use of illegal wireless equipment. Likewise, last year, DoT officials seized and took down nearly 400 such illegal mobile signal repeaters.
Notably, the unauthorised walkie-talkie sets and mobile signal boosters are predominantly used to help anti-social elements that can set up illegal communication infrastructure. Many people use such equipment to boost their mobile signals within their premises and this is claimed to have an adverse impact on the telecom networks in the nearby areas. Eventually, there will be issues such as poor call quality, call drops and more.
Furthermore, the letter added that notice has also been issued to many e-commerce platforms warning them not to sell or facilitate the sale of unauthorised wireless equipment such as signal boosters or repeaters. Some of these e-commerce platforms have also complied with DoT’s instructions. However, some platforms and grey markets are still selling such illegal wireless equipment, which is a major concern.