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Rogue Base Station (RBS), also know as IMSI Catcher (an international mobile subscriber identity-catcher), refers to a type of electronic surveillance equipment that collects information about nearby mobile devices. This is done either passively, by intercepting the radio signals already being transmitted between a mobile device (such as a mobile phone) and a mobile base-station (cell tower); or actively, by presenting itself to nearby mobile communication devices as a legitimate mobile base-station, thereby fooling devices to connect to the IMSI-catcher itself allowing further interception of information from the devices.

The global Rogue Base Station (RBS) market size is projected to reach US$ 196.36 million by 2027, from US$ 87.27 million in 2020, at a CAGR of 11.26% during 2021-2027.

Global Rogue Base Station (RBS) Market- Key Players

L3Harris, Septier, Kavit Electronics Industries Ltd, Proximus LLC, PKI Electronic, Phantom Technologies Ltd, Comstrac, NovoQuad, RedEye, The Spy Phone, Helios Technologies, Ismallcell Biz, Rayfond Technology, 4Intelligence, are some of the key players in the global Rogue Base Station (RBS) market. L3Harris is the largest manufacturer of Rogue Base Station (RBS). The company owned about 32% market share in 2020. In the past few years, due to the fierce competition, L3Harris market share is shrinking. There are many manufacturers in the world, and the products are mainly produced from USA, Israel, UK, Germany and other countries. Given the increasing demand for and the ease of assembling the technology, Rogue Base Station (RBS)s are now being produced in various parts of the world, including China. The biggest consumption market is North America, takes the market share of about 30.53% in 2020, followed by Europe with 26.18%.

The purpose of an IMSI-catcher is to collect certain information about nearby devices such as the ‘IMSI-number’ identifying the device, its operator, and its subscriber. In the case of active IMSI-catchers, it may also gather information about communication taking place from the devices. The specific range and capabilities of IMSI-catchers depend on the model being used and the portability also varies, from models fitting in a briefcase to models intended for installation in cars, planes or drones. The capability of some more advanced IMSI-catchers allows law enforcement agencies (and others with access to the equipment) to identify nearby mobile devices (within a distance of roughly 200 m to 2 km depending on the portability of the IMSI-catcher), thereby possibly establishing the proximity of their associated owners, locate the devices with relative precision, gather communication metadata from those same mobile devices when they are used for communication, and block communication originating from the device. Some models, sometimes referred to as ‘DRTboxes’ or ‘Dirtboxes’ also enables interception of the content of communication originating from the mobile device.

Until recently, public information about Rogue Base Station (RBS) manufacturers and their devices was relatively limited. In December 2015, The Intercept acquired and published a secret internal US government catalogue of cellphone surveillance devices used by the military and intelligence agencies. Company mergers and acquisitions, and inter-companies cooperation have occurred for development and growth.

Rogue Base Station (RBS) use raises a host of critical issues, one of the most troubling aspects of the Rogue Base Station (RBS)’s emergence has been the suppression of information around its use. To uphold Constitutional rights, it is essential that law enforcement agencies provide details about the surveillance technologies they use. They must also proffer evidence that they abide by the policies that circumscribe the use of such technologies.



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