As NTC clamps down on SMS blaster machines, Globe warns against signal boosters

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Globe Telecom has thrown its support behind the recent action of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to go after the sale of the illegal cell broadcaster, an equipment intended to serve the public during extreme periods of disaster. 

This piece of equipment being sold in Facebook is purportedly a “campaign SMS blaster machine”

This comes after the controversial “emergency” text blast containing campaign materials for presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. when he filed his certificate of candidacy last Oct. 8.     

At the same time, Globe also cautioned the public on the sale and use of illegal signal boosters or repeaters, cellular signal blockers and jammers which cause widespread interference to telecommunications services in a particular area. 

“These network disruptions include slow or failed connections, dropped calls and voice quality issues and even loss of cell phone signals,” the telco said.

Illegal repeaters, on the other hand, come in the form of indoor or outdoor antennas and wireless adapters that boost network coverage and signal by means of hogging bandwidth from a cell site.

“As a result, such devices interfere with airwaves and interfere with mobile signals for other customers within the immediate vicinity of the booster and served by the interfered cell site,” Globe said.

Cell signal jammers, meanwhile, totally block the cellular signal and prevent anyone from making use of the service. Often these are used for venues such as concert halls, theaters or places of worship to prevent disruption of an event due to people receiving or making calls while an event is in progress, Globe explained, adding that it is also used to prevent the use of cellphones in high security places such as the National Penitentiary. 

“However, signal jammers can also be used to block cell signals that can disrupt critical service in the case of disaster relief and rescue operations or even disrupt automated elections which rely on cell signals at polling precincts,” it pointed out.  

Since 2013, the NTC has prohibited the sale of these devices under National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Memorandum Order No. 01-02-2013 “Prohibition of Portable Cellular Mobile Repeater and Portable Cell site Equipment”. 

Despite this, Globe said more and more online shops, sellers, and vendors are offering these illegal repeaters on social media. The NTC is already in the process of reviewing for a possible update on its old memorandum (NTC MO 01-02-2013) against the sale of illegal repeaters.

“While we continue to expand our network to deliver first-world connectivity to Filipinos, these efforts will be hindered if illegal repeaters remain in use and will continue to interfere with and degrade mobile network communications,” said Emmanuel Estrada, Globe head of technology and strategy service integration.

The Ayala-owned telco said it conducts routine scanning for these illegal devices, and provides its scan results to the NTC for their appropriate action.

“Globe encourages its customers to report suspected users or sellers of illegal repeaters and jammers so the company can investigate and shut down these illegal devices with the help of the NTC,” it said. “We all need to use communications networks ethically and responsibly, especially in these times when a stable connection is imperative for every customer.”

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