In spite of having been outlawed by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, GSM signal boosters are readily available everywhere including some renowned e-commerce stores like Daraz, PakWheels, DealMarkaz, DesertCart, and more.
Taking notice of unrestricted sale and use of illegal GSM signal boosters, PTA warned against the import, sale, and use of GSM boosters, amplifiers, and repeaters in August last year. Banning the devices, the authority had clarified that only Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) were allowed to import GSM boosters and install them at mobile users’ premises.
GSM Signal Boosters can land you in jail
Akin to illegal water pumps that siphon water from pipelines, or gas pumps that boost suction for increased pressure, GSM boosters illegally gobble bandwidth, causing major disruption to mobile signals. While improving connectivity for a few, these sub-standard signal boosters cause interference with mobile networks’ frequency bands, deteriorating service quality for countless others.
In one notice, PTA had warned all importers, distributors, sellers, and users of GSM boosters to refrain from import, distribution, sale, and use of these devices or face legal action in light of Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act 1996.
According to Section 31, Sub-section (2) of the Act, “the unauthorised use of the radio frequency spectrum shall be punishable with imprisonment, which may extend to (three) years, or with fine which may extend to Rs10 million, or with both.”
Sellers take the directives for granted
A copy of PTA’s legal notice was sent to different markets where signal boosters were being sold to the public. The authority had ordered an immediate halt to such illegal practice and all leading e-commerce portals were to follow suit by banning the sale of such equipment.
But GSM boosters look like such a profitable business that the biggest and most reputable e-commerce stores in Pakistan seem to have shown little regard for the repeated PTA directives. It’s high time that the authorities ensured enforcement of the law and took serious notice of the unhindered sale of illegal GSM boosters.
PTA also ought to wake up and take decisive action to uproot this menace and quash the illegal import, sale, and use of GSM boosters, instead of issuing mere verbal intimidations.