The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has asked field offices to restrict imports of unauthorised wireless equipment and permit the import of mobile signal repeaters/boosters based on licenses. CBIC has advised principal chief commissioners that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has flagged the easy availability of unauthorised mobile signal repeaters/boosters on grey markets and on e-commerce platforms.

In light of interference caused by such repeaters, the licensed cellular telecom service providers (TSP) have struggled to maintain a satisfactory quality of service (QoS) due to the usage of unauthorised mobile signal repeaters/boosters. E-commerce platforms also sell certain models of walkie-talkies without any compliance with the regulatory requirements of the DoT.

Under the existing import policy of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), mobile signal repeaters/boosters and walkie-talkie sets fall under the category of transmission apparatus and require a license from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.

The CBIC asked field officers to strictly adhere to the DGFT import policy in order to “restrict the inflow of such unauthorized wireless equipment including mobile signal booster/repeater into the country”.