Cell phone jamming devices were originally developed for law enforcement and the military to interrupt communications by criminals and terrorists. The bombs that blew up commuter trains in Spain in March 2004, as well as blasts in Bali in October 2002 and Jakarta in August 2003, all relied on cell phones to trigger explosives. It has been widely reported that a cell-phone jammer thwarted an assassination attempt on Pakistani President Musharraf in December 2003. When President Bush visited London in November 2004, it was reported that British police considered using jammers to protect the president's motorcade through London.
During a hostage situation, police can control when and where a captor can make a phone call. Police can block phone calls during a drug raid so suspects can't communicate outside the area. Cell-phone jammers can be used in areas where radio transmissions are dangerous, (areas with a potentially explosive atmosphere), such as chemical storage facilities or grain elevators. The TRJ-89 jammer from Antenna System & Supplies Inc. carries its own electrical generator and can block cellular communications in a 5-mile (8-km) radius.
Corporations use jammers to stop corporate espionage by blocking voice transmissions and photo transmissions from camera phones. On the more questionable end of the legitimacy spectrum, there are rumors that hotel chains install jammers to block guests' cell-phone usage and force them to use in-room phones at high rates.