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NEW DELHI : The department of telecommunications has asked e-commerce companies not to sell wireless boosters or jammers, considering that existing laws authorize only licenced telecom service providers to sell and install such equipment.

“The use of jammer, GPS blockers, or other signal-jamming device is generally illegal, except (where) specifically permitted by government of India," the DoT 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 jammers or signal jammers intentionally jam or block 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi signals, GPS and other navigational communications by radiating strong radio signals of similar frequencies.

According to Indian law, only states, defence forces, central police organizations can procure approved models and use jammers. Authorities conducting examinations for government bodies are also allowed to install jammers from authorized vendors after getting permission. But, private sector organizations and individuals cannot procure or use jammers in India.

Boosters or signal repeaters help amplify signals for better phone reception. However, unauthorized use of mobile phone boosters can interfere with and disrupt public telecommunication services, the department said.

This not only causes inconvenience to phone users, but can also hamper access to emergency call services from phones, which poses a risk to public health and safety, it added.

“It is unlawful to possess, sell, and/or use mobile signal repeater or booster by any individual or entity other than the licenced telecom service. In case consumers are experiencing problems with the quality of service or connectivity issue, the concerned TSP (telecom service provider) should be contacted to address the issue."

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents telecom firms, welcomed the move. People are unaware that buying, selling, installation and possession of boosters is a punishable offence under the Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, and India Telegraph Act, 1885, it said. “The unauthorised use adversely interferes with telecom services," said SP Kochhar, director general, COAI.

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