The cellular operators’ body COAI wants the government to chalk out a mechanism to control the quality of mobile handsets in India, saying role of devices in data service quality and call drops has not been considered “adequately”. Seeking an “urgent policy intervention”, COAI has argued that the onus of call drops and service quality has been attributed squarely to operators, but “the role of devices in issue of service quality and call drops has not been considered adequately”.
COAI claimed that there has been a “massive influx of untested and uncertified smartphones (more than 10,000 models in India) due to design variations introduced by the device manufacturers”.
Drawing the government’s attention to the absence of regulations governing the handset quality, the industry body rued that there was no visibility or control over the large number of “rogue devices affecting the network quality”.
The letter by COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews highlights cases of degradation in data in dual SIM LTE mobile devices, specifically with regard to the “chipset-specific implementation by MediaTek”. However, the association’s suggestions to the government are broad-based.
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“The sale of any mobile device that has been found to be adversely impacting the data throughput should be banned,” COAI suggested, adding that policy norms should be issued for enforcing the device and network standards such as minimum processor and memory requirements.
Smartphone definitions should include both the SIM slots -dual SIM 4G phones should have both the slots as 4G enabled; and dual SIM 3G phones should have both the slots as 3G enabled. “Devices with 2G only SIM slots should be phased out in the next 6 months,” it added.
COAI, which has shot off a letter to Telecom Commission Chairman, said tests conducted on some dual SIM 4G handsets revealed that placing a SIM, which has only 4G-LTE capability, in the second slot (meant for 2G only) significantly deteriorated the throughput of any other operator’s 4G SIM present in the main slot, by up to 40 per cent.
“The analysis so far points to a chipset specific implementation by MediaTek. All the device models that have the MediaTek chipsets are likely to have this issue. It is estimated that MediaTek chipsets are present in more than 35 per cent of the smartphones in the country,” it said.
COAI has urged the Telecom Department to mandate that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of mobile devices should fix the issue using an ‘over the air’ upgrade in the next four weeks, and in the case of non-compliance, such devices should be taken off the market.