BEIRUT: Telecoms Minister Boutros Harb Wednesday announced a crackdown on illegal signal jammers and repeaters that interfere with mobile phone reception and said telecoms would shift to microwave transmission.
“A joint plan was launched with the two mobile operators [touch and Alfa] to solve the problem by replacing illegal devices with legitimate devices for free,” Harb told a news conference at his Beirut office. “The ministry will hunt down illegal devices, known as jammers and repeaters."
Harb urged citizens to call 111 to get their illegal devices replaced or to report any violations.
In addition to jammers and repeaters installed in various buildings that have affected the performance of the network in general, Harb cited multiple other factors degrading the quality of Lebanon's cell coverage, inluding radio signals emitted by security forces or U.N. peacekeepers, Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty and lengthy power outages.
Many Lebanese households illegally install jammers and repeaters on top of their buildings to enhance the reception of their communication devices, and this ultimately affects the quality of mobile calls in Lebanon, according to some telecom experts.
There are close to 4 million mobile subscribers in Lebanon, representing 90 percent penetration.
Harb said the Telecoms Ministry also had plans to shift to microwave transmission.
“We took a decision to shift from using satellite dishes to microwave dishes, which are not affected by natural factors,” he said.