Globe Telecom says it has detected service interference in more than 1,200 cell sites caused by illegal signal transmitters since the start of 2017 – and the problem is getting worse.
Illegal transmitters such as signal boosters, repeaters and RFID systems – which are commonly used for car parking or security systems in subdivisions, tollways and in residential, office and commercial buildings – have been resulting in Globe customers experiencing dropped calls, garbled lines, weak signal and slow browsing, says Globe. Around 60% of the affected sites are located in Metro Manila.
As of last September, Globe says it has identified, located and shut down about 210 illegal repeaters and RFID systems causing interference to its cellular network. The RFID systems were found to be operating within the cellular frequency bands and outside the National Telecommunications Commission’s allocated frequency band for RFID.
However, Globe says these appear to be just the tip of the iceberg, as only less than 10% of the sites affected were actually cleared of interference. The number of illegal repeaters and RFID systems appear to be increasing as well. Globe says there has been an 85% increase in sites with signal interference in 2017 (compared to 2016), which it attributes to the uncontrolled proliferation of repeaters and increasing use of RFID mostly in high-end residential areas and buildings.
“While illegal signal boosters may enhance wireless coverage in a particular area, such devices, when improperly designed or installed, will cause interference with mobile networks and thus will impede communication services, including emergency calls in the community,” said Globe General Counsel Attorney Froilan Castelo. “Thus, the illegal use of such devices does not solve signal issues but rather lead to service degradation of telecommunication companies. On the other hand, RFIDs should not pose a problem for as long as these are operating outside of the cellular frequency bands and only in RFID bands allocated by NTC.”
Recently, Globe said it notified the NTC at least 30 separate cases of signal interference caused by illegal signal transmitters. NTC has already confirmed at least seven such cases to be in a broadcast company, specific hotels and residentials in exclusive villages.