Millennium Post (Kolkata)
COAI urges telecom dept to crack down on sale of illegal repeaters, boosters via e-comm sites, outlets
It says issue needs to be taken up with ministries, including IT ministry, and DPIIT ‘to curb this menace’
NEW DELHI: Industry body COAI on Friday urged the telecom department to take strict measures to ensure complete ban on sale of illegal repeaters and boosters, offline or online via e-commerce websites, as it sought the government’s urgent intervention to “curb this menace”.
COAI said that though some e-commerce companies have terminated sale of such equipment from their platforms after the association’s detailed assertions on the issue, others continue to sell them.
The association — whose members are telecom operators like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea — had previously too flagged the rampant sale of mobile signal boosters and repeaters on e-commerce sites, despite restrictions.
COAI, in a letter dated April 16 to Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash, voiced the telecom industry’s concerns over how illegal repeaters had “become a major nuisance” and one of the biggest causes for customers facing mobile network issues like call drops and low data speeds.
The Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) has urged the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to crack down on the issue.
“...we request DoT to kindly intervene in the matter and take strict measures to...ensure complete ban on sale of these illegal repeaters and boosters, offline or online through e-commerce websites/platforms, through an appropriate notification to sellers of illegal repeaters in the country,” said the letter.
This could be by way of continuation to DoT’s earlier notification of 2019, it added.
The association also requested the telecom department to take up the issue with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry “to prohibit import of such illegal boosters/ repeaters in the country with immediate effect”.
It said the issue needs to be taken up with appropriate ministries, including IT ministry, and DPIIT “to curb this menace”.
The industry 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.
Since many e-commerce websites were selling these illegal equipment, COAI had earlier shot off detailed letters to the e-commerce companies informing them that possession and sale of such equipment, without obtaining requisite permissions, constituted violation of the Telegraph Act.
“Though some of the e-commerce companies have terminated sale of such equipment from their website/ platform, some other continue to sell them,” COAI said.