Citing consumer safety, especially of women, DoT has rejected handset makers’ demand for using alternative technology instead of GPS in low cost mobiles, while the industry warned that the decision will push up prices of such feature phones by over 50 per cent. The government has made it mandatory to install Global Positioning System (GPS) in all mobile phones, including feature phones that will be sold in India, from January 1, 2018 so as to locate subscribers in emergency situations. “GPS is the main tool regarding location details of the subscriber in emergency, so government has decided to implement it in all the mobile phone handsets from 1 January 2018 in a positive manner,” the DoT has said in a reply to industry body Indian Cellular Association (ICA).
“In the view of above, it is re-iterated that all mobile phone handset manufacturers should also adhere for second part of the gazette notification dated 22-04-2016 for implementation of GPS facility in all mobile phone handsets,” it has said. ICA, which represents majority of mobile phone companies in India, has written to the government to use A-GPS technology which can help in locating callers using mobile towers near their location. DoT has said however that the method used for locating caller with help of mobile towers is not very accurate. It said that the GPS has been mandated in all mobile handsets “to ensure the safety and security of women which is of utmost importance”.
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When contacted, ICA National President Pankaj Mohindroo said: “The price of low cost feature phones may rise by over 50 per cent as adding GPS system will require better configuration.” In a letter to the government last year, ICA had said feature phones retail for Rs 500-700 for which bill of material (BOM) used is to the tune of USD 5 (around Rs 330- 350). Adding GPS in such phones will increase the production the cost to USD 9-11 per unit, it said.