Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has asked different institutions to remove mobile phone jammers by January 30. Previously issued licences for the jamming devices have been cancelled. Reason? The cellular companies contended that jammers were hampering the quality of service. As mobile portability comes near, mobile companies are forced to think about customer sastisfaction but they have started with pointing blame to external factors! Read full PTA directive here and business recorder coverage of this here.

What are mobile phone jammers?

There are times and places when and where a phone ring is not desirable: Cinemas, places of worship , exam venues, libraries etc. A cell phone jammer is an instrument used to prevent cellular phones from receiving and transmitting the mobile signals to a base station. By broadcasting on the same frequency as a mobile network they block signals, leaving phone users with a “no signal” message. Effectiveness of a jammer ranges from a few meters to  kilometres. A portable mobile phone jammer is shown on the left, courtsey of BBC.

PTA has directed all the institutions to off load all the mobile jammers as the deployment of such equipment is causing interference and blockage to the service in vast areas even outside the authorised premises. The policy also suggested a separate process to be adopted, in which an inter-ministerial committee will decide on future authorisations in the context of national security.

In US and UK jammers are illegal. France allowed jammers to be used in movie theaters and performance venues. In India Government and school use jammers.

Silent Communications is a company which caters to this problem. As reported here, Silent Communication estimates that “lost calls” are worth $20 billion per year worldwide, and that use of their product will drive up operator ARPU significantly.

More Info About Jammers (from Wikipedia)

As explained at Wikipedia jammers work by either disrupting phone to tower frequencies or tower to phone frequencies. Smaller handheld models block all bands from 800mhz to 1900mhz within a 30 foot range. Small devices tend to use the former method, while larger more expensive models may interfere directly with the tower. The radius of cell phone jammers can range from a dozen feet for pocket models to kilometers for more dedicated units.