Rishi Ranjan Kala
The department of telecommunications (DoT) is expected to meet handset manufacturers next week over concerns raised by the industry over the government’s decision to make GPS mandatory in all mobile phones, including features phones. The government has made it mandatory for installing the Global Positioning System (GPS) that enables tracking of the device’s location in all mobile phones, including feature phones, sold in the country, beginning January 1 next year. On Wednesday, the handset makers had met telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan and pointed out that installing GPS in a feature phone is not only technically challenging, but will lead to up to 50% escalation in the price of devices, making them costlier for the consumers. After the meeting, Sundararajan told FE, “The ministry officials will meet the industry representatives and we will hear their concerns and take a decision accordingly.”
During the meet, a representative from a top manufacturer said, “The whole industry is facing a huge challenge”, with regard to enabling GPS in feature phones. The representative pointed out that with over 40% of the market still comprising features phones, sold at an average price of Rs 1,500, the GPS component is not only technically challenging, as the handset will require more power and more memory, it will also increase costs by up to 50%. Moreover, if the phone does not have internet connectivity, GPS will not be of much help, the representative had pointed out, requesting the secretary to look into the issue. Another representative from a home-grown mobile phone maker expressed the same concerns regarding cost and data connectivity.