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COAI seeks DoT’s intervention to stop sale of mobile signal boosters on e-commerce websites

May 13, 2019
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The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has approached the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to stop the sale of mobile signal boosters and repeaters on certain e-commerce websites despite restrictions. The move comes after the COAI had already made a direct appeal to e-tailers.

As per COAI, the sale of such illegal items not only violates norms but also hampers service quality for subscribers. Further, COAI has informed DoT that only a few e-commerce companies have removed the items, while some are still selling it, after its ‘cease and desist’ appeal to e-tailers.

Earlier, COAI had pointed the DoT’s Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) wing’s directive of May 2016 on online sale of wireless sets and equipment to e-commerce companies. In particular, COAI has mentioned Amazon’s stance on the matter, which claimed that the onus of complying with laws in this regard rested with the sellers. COAI has further asked DoT’s WPC wing to firmly put on record its directive issued in 2016, which stated that in event of such sale, the responsibility lies not only with sellers and buyers but also with the e-commerce website which acts as the platform/intermediary. COAI noted that Amazon replied to the industry body saying that they have responded to WPC on the issue.

In its letter to DoT, COAI has requested the DoT/WPC wing to intervene in the matter and take up the issue of banning the sale of these illegal repeaters and boosters on the e-commerce websites/platforms with these e-commerce companies. The import of repeaters is under restricted category wherein they are required to obtain due licence from WPC wing and it appears that these repeaters are being imported in contravention to the specified norms by ineligible person/ companies, it added.

Further, COAI suggested that as a second step, DoT should apprise the Department of Customs of the said issue so that the import of such repeaters by unauthorised person/companies is completely stopped.

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