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COAI requests e-commerce firms to stop illegal sale of mobile signal boosters

March 14, 2019
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The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has written to e-commerce firms such as Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal to immediately stop the sale of mobile signal boosters as it is illegal to sell them without a licence from the government. In addition, these equipments also cause network interference and impact quality of service to end consumers.

At present, such equipments are available on almost all e-commerce platforms at prices above Rs 1,500 and are used mostly in areas of high-density population to boost signals thereby leading to more pressure on already congested mobile networks.

In separate letters to e-commerce firms dated March 12, 2019, the COAI has stated that as per the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act, 1933, the possession and sale of such equipment without a licence from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is a punishable offence. Under the law, in case of a wireless equipment, the purchaser needs to obtain a ‘frequency authorisation/agreement in principle letter’ from the DoT before purchasing any equipment in the licensed bands, and subsequently the wireless operating licence for the same after submitting required documents and spectrum charges.

The COAI’s move comes two months after the telecom minister had stated in the Lok Sabha that e-commerce companies which were found to be dealing with ‘unauthorised’ wireless equipment, including boosters, had been directed to ensure compliance with statutory norms.

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