A stark and uncanny aspect of India’s development story has been the telecom revolution. India skydived to mobile telecommunications and at a pace that has been truly revolutionary. Mobile Phones have now become the bread and butter for us Indians. Much of this has been possible due to the tireless efforts of the telecom industry in bringing the best possible services to consumers.
Today more than 6.47 Lakh (last seen on April 1, 2021) mobile towers can be found in the country, with 51,000 being added in the last year itself. Likewise, seamless connectivity was provided to consumers across the country.
The bane is- it has attracted unwanted attention- this time from telecom fraudsters.
PIC CREDIT: Google Images
Mobile Towers and Money
Often presenting themselves as agents of Telecom Service Providers, Infrastructure Service Providers, or the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), the Fraudsters jack people by promising them benefits like lucrative monthly rents for hosting towers in their premises.
They spread like the Flu, distributing Fake pamphlets and making bogus phone calls. Usual benefits include Hifg rentals, free installation of towers, and waiver of mandatory municipal taxes. Often gifts of free phones are also offered.
Once we have taken the bait, gullible property owners are asked to deposit money in the accounts of these charlatans in the name of Government taxes, for which fake receipts are promptly provided. The receipts are often in the name of some bogus organization or a telecom service provider, or TRAI itself! The phrase “Fake it till you make it” seems to have taken a toll on these Charlatans!
Expectedly, once payments are made, the fraudsters close their operations and move on to their next prey.
The regulator has issued guidelines for the industry to take steps to raise awareness on the same. The industry is working together on education programs and awareness campaigns to ensure that people are not duped by these unscrupulous characters. TRAI, the regulator is not directly/indirectly involved in leasing/renting premises for the installation of mobile towers.
Who has the license to Install Mobile Towers?
Infrastructure Providers such as Indus Towers Ltd., ATC, Bharti Infratel, etc. along with the Telecom service providers such as RJio, Airtel, VIL, BSNL, MTNL, can install towers after clearance from apt authorities (mostly central and state governments), local bodies, companies or institutions incorporated by the central/state government themselves.
It is important for the Nation to know about these fraudsters since we all are prey to such calls every single day. Calls can be made to the National Consumer Helpline from anywhere in India at 14404 or 1800-11-4000.
People can also file a complaint at www.consumerhelpline.gov.in
It is we citizens who are the only people able to stop this bamboozlery and energize the telecom sector, thereby ensuring national growth and development.