E-commerce sites continue selling signal booster devices despite Illegality

It’s not uncommon knowledge anymore that signal boosting devices in Pakistan are considered illegal if bought or sold by unlicensed individuals. However, the menace still continues. It has just been noticed that topline e-commerce websites in Pakistan are still selling these illegal devices, as can be seen below.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has announced it multiple times over the last few months that the buying and selling of these GSM boosters is strictly prohibited and anyone found violating this law can be imprisoned and fined. As per Section-31, Sub-Section (2) of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act 1996: ‘the unauthorized use of the radio frequency spectrum shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to [three] years, or with fine which may extend to ten million rupees, or with both.’ This law applies to sellers and buyers of the boosters as well.

There are valid reasons why such stringent laws exist for the use of these devices. Signal boosters, amplifiers, and repeaters are used to enhance wireless coverage in a particular region. However, they cause direct interference with mobile network frequencies. This not only hampers mobile service quality, but is a huge inconvenience for everyone in the neighborhood where these devices are deployed, since it disrupts their connectivity.

Late last year, the PTA had begun taking action against the sellers of these GSM boosters and amplifiers, when warnings and notices were sent to various markets selling signal boosters to the public, where the authority ordered an immediate halt to this illegal practice. Before this, in August 2020, the PTA had already raised this issue in a public notice as well.

Many e-commerce websites had been seen selling these previously, and took them down after the given warnings. But, a few popular ones can again be seen listing these devices online.

Mobile phone users in various parts of Pakistan, especially Lahore and Islamabad, have consistently been facing mobile network disruption due to the illegal installation of these amplifiers and boosters. E-commerce websites and markets selling these need to be dealt with by the authorities on an immediate basis and heavily fined.