With mobile network boosters becoming a major reason for poor service quality, the Department of Telecom has asked online sellers to pull down listings of such equipment, an official statement said on Thursday.
The DoT has also carried out raids across multiple locations in South Mumbai over the last two days which led to the removal of 68 illegal boosters (or repeaters), it added.
The action comes amid frequent complaints of poor network quality in various parts of the country.
"Online platforms have also been issued notices to remove listing of illegal repeaters from their website and such companies have responded positively," Amit Gautam, who is part of DoT's Wireless Monitoring Organisation, was quoted as saying in the statement.
"We started bringing down the illegal repeaters in November. Raids were conducted on December 22 and 23 as well. Total 68 illegal mobile signal boosters were brought down. We could see they were all China made devices with no safety standard mark...," Gautam said.
He added the department will file FIR against vendors selling these network repeaters.
Installation, possession or selling of illegal repeater is a punishable offence as per the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933 and Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the statement said.
"Our department has taken a very serious view on installation of illegal repeaters as it has become a major obstruction in providing quality telecom services and clean spectrum," Gautam said.
He explained that the practice of using mobile signal boosters is similar to having illegal water connection from the main supply line, leading to shortage for all others.
The signal boosters lead to higher incidents of call drops and lower data surfing speeds on telecom networks.
The two-day drive was conducted across residential and commercial establishments in South Mumbai's LT Marg, Masjid Bunder, Bhoiwada, Zaveri Bazar, Kolsa Street, Nagdevi Street, Abdul Rahman Steet, Narayan Dhuru Street and Sarang Street areas against such installations.
It resulted in the removal of 68 illegal repeaters, cutting 50 wire joints giving feed to illegal antennas and giving notices to 29 of them, it said, adding similar drives will be conducted ahead as well.
Similar raids have been conducted in different cities like Delhi, Agra and Mathura across residential and commercial areas, it said.
The illegal repeaters are installed by individuals/ establishments at homes, offices and guest houses to boost mobile signals, it said, adding the illegal equipment interferes with all mobile networks, impacts signal quality and degrades network experience in the entire area.
Mobile operators invest heavily in acquisition of spectrum and network rollout to enhance customer experience. However, the illegal booster causes interference with the mobile network, it added.