S'pore bans GSM network-interfering devices

Singapore's Telecommunication (Dealers) (Amendment) Regulations 2001 came into effect yesterday, banning the display, sale and use of all non-type approved wireless equipment, which could interfere with certain GSM networks.

SINGAPORE--Buying that remote control door opener, or a baby monitor, could land you in jail for three years. And while you're stewing in your cell, you could find consolation in the fact that the dealer who sold you that wireless doorbell faces a S$1 million (US$557,000) fine.

The selection includes all wireless products--headphones, microphones, speaker systems, doorbells, cordless telephones and surveillance video cameras--which operate in the 890-915 MHz and 935-960 MHz frequencies.

The sale of such equipment was previously allowed in the Republic. However, their usage has been prohibited since March 1998 as the devices "were found to disrupt the operation of public mobile telephone networks", said the Info-communications Development Authority (IDA) in a statement Wednesday evening.

The regulation, however, has been amended. The Telecommunication (Dealers) (Amendment) Regulations 2001 came into effect yesterday, banning the display, sale and use of all non-type approved wireless equipment.

The reason: some local usage was discovered and it has "caused interference to mobile telephone services (including) dropped calls and bad reception", said IDA spokesperson Chia Sher Ling when contacted.

She added that a total of 27 incidents of interference were detected by the IDA over the past two years.

"In these cases, the source of interference was identified as the non-type approved equipment operating in the GSM frequency bands of 890-915 MHz and 935-960 MHz (as listed in the table below)," said IDA in its statement.

Not only must dealers remove these goods from display, they have just 30 days to export such equipment, which also includes wireless headphones, wireless microphones and wireless speaker systems.

Failure to comply could lead to a S$1 million (US$557,000) fine, and a suspension or termination of their license.

Users who are caught with offending devices could get a S$10,000 (US$5,573) fine, and/or a three-year prison sentence. The public is urged to contact the IDA to arrange for the export or the disposal of the banned equipment.

Those who are not sure if their door-bell infringes on the law can refer to the IDA site, or call 211-1932.

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