Telcos want government help in response to an increase in equipment theft

A rise in instances of active equipment theft has prompted telecom operators to ask the government for help, since these thefts are causing them great losses and extra costs.

According to the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), baseband and remote radio units are the most often stolen pieces of equipment, and since October 2023, the number of these crimes has grown significantly.

“The general public, as well as the service providers, are very concerned about this. Therefore, stringent measures must be taken by the authorities to stop such instances from happening in the future, the COAI said in a letter to Neeraj Mittal, the secretary of the department of telecommunications (DoT), on Thursday.

In order to prioritize these theft allegations and guarantee tough action against them, COAI has encouraged DoT to bring up the issue with all State Chief Secretaries. Additionally, it has asked DoT to work with governments to secure telecom infrastructure with police, particularly in regions where theft is a problem.

A few particular regions in Delhi NCR, Rajasthan, Assam, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Punjab, and Haryana have disproportionately higher rates of theft incidences. According to COAI, only 31 districts account for 50% of all theft instances recorded nationwide.

Telcos have also asked the government to restrict the overseas websites because they believe that some of them are selling stolen equipment. This comprises the URLs of websites like Alibaba, eBay, Telefly, and so forth.

“The people that suffer the most from the increasing number of theft instances are the consumers. Although the quality of services provided to the site’s clients nearly always declines as a result of these accidents, there may also be cases in which services are discontinued entirely, according to COAI.

Under the Telecommunications Act of 2023, the theft of active equipment is included in the offense of causing harm to telecom infrastructure.

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