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3G, 4G tech renders jammers dysfunctional in Punjab jails

By Asif Mehmood
December 11, 2015

IG Punjab Prisons says no action despite
complaints to PTA; telecom authority says Prisons Department will have to upgrade technology

LAHORE: The jammers installed at the prisons in Punjab are now out of order and the inability to upgrade these devices has made it easy for the jailed terrorists to use mobile phones for communication.

In this scenario, the prisons are facing a serious terrorism threat, as sources in the Prisons Department said that these jammers did not have the capacity to control signals after the introduction of 3G and 4G technology in Pakistan.

According to the sources, the signals transmitted through the mobile towers in the old technology were of 1,700 megahertz which were controlled by the presently-installed jammers. But the 2,100 megahertz signals used in 3G and 4G technology are more powerful, making these jammers obsolete.

Thus, it is easy for the imprisoned high-profile criminals and terrorists to contact their associates by using the 3G and 4G technology.When contacted, IG (Prisons) Mian Farooq Nazir said the mobile companies and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) were repeatedly informed about the reservations after the upgradation of technology, but no action had so far been taken due to a nexus between the PTA and the mobile companies’ mafia.

He said the law covering telecom in Punjab made it mandatory for every mobile company to seek permission from the Home Department before installing towers within one kilometre radius of the prisons; however, none of the companies followed the rules. He said the PTA did not ask any mobile company to submit permission letter of the Home Department for installing towers.

On the other hand, a PTA spokesman, in this connection, said the authority could not stop any company from using the 3G and 4G technology, adding that the prisons authorities would have to upgrade the jammers.

The spokesman said the PTA rules stipulated that the mobile companies had to follow the local laws and he didn’t know that the mobile companies had violated any law in Punjab.He, however, said action would be taken on installing mobile phone towers against the laws in Punjab, if any company had done so.