Globe asks NTC to amend rules on mobile signal boosters

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Globe Telecom said it recently submitted its proposal to the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) to amend the NTC Memo (NTC MO 01-02-2013) to curb the use and sale of illegal repeaters proliferating in online stores.

Despite being classified as illegal products in the Philippines, mobile signal boosters are readily available for purchase in online stores

The Ayala-owned telco has asked the NTC to allow only type-approved repeaters or signal boosters that are industry certified to prevent interference with network signals contributing to poor network experience.

The sale of illegal repeaters is very common in online shopping websites, online marketplace, online shopping apps and in physical electronics and communications stores all over the country which is a direct violation of an existing memorandum of the NTC issued in 2013, according to Globe.

The illegal repeaters, Globe said, interfere with network signals hence the neighborhood or the community will experience weak signals, slow connections, dropped calls and poor voice call quality.

Globe said it has already made recommendations to the NTC on how to address the threats and concerns raised by the use and availability of illegal repeaters in the market.

The recommendations include:

  • Users and subscribers shall purchase and use RF repeaters that are type-approved by telecommunications companies or telcos;
  • Authorized users and subscribers shall cease operating the RF repeaters immediately if requested by the NTC or telco; and
  • The NTC shall conduct monthly routine inspection and scanning of all telco frequencies to mitigate the interference caused by unauthorized radio transmitting devices.

Illegal repeaters or signal boosters are devices used for boosting mobile phone reception. They have three units: a reception antenna, a signal amplifier and an internal rebroadcast antenna. These repeaters are uncalibrated thus not suitable to local mobile conditions and require tuning or filtering to be effective, according to Globe.

Globe stressed that illegal repeaters negate the efforts of telcos to expand its capability and connectivity by building more cell towers or cell sites. Moreover, Globe said these boosters interfere with mobile phone networks that may even put people’s safety into danger when they need to make emergency calls.

 “We are exerting so much effort in making the mobile and Internet experience more enjoyable and pleasant for our customers. These expansion and network rollouts, however, will be useless especially in these times where connectivity is an essential part of every Filipino household if illegal repeaters keep on negating our efforts to improve experience. More importantly, illegal repeaters may boost the weak signal of a user but these unauthorized devices likewise put into risk the lives of other people in the community who need assistance in matters of life and death situations,” said Froilan Castelo, Globe chief legal counsel.

Aside from these, the company said illegal repeaters likewise impact the operations of local businesses in a given area. Just like the ordinary customers, business establishments will also experience all the negative effects of illegal repeaters in their location, it added.

Globe said it is working with several tech companies to bring in authorized repeaters. “Globe will see to it that these network approved repeaters are tested and proven not to put any Globe customer or community at any danger at all times. Also, these devices must not interfere with Globe’s network signals,” it said.

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