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COAI says MediaTek chipsets affects service quality

A manufacturing glitch in MediaTek chipsets used in smartphones is affecting service quality offered by telecom companies, telecom lobbying association COAI said in a letter to TRAI and DoT, according to this ET report. Telecom operators have been criticised for call drops for the past few years, and the COAI appears to be passing some of the blame for poor data speeds to MediaTek, at least in the current 4G environment. COAI has not responded to MediaNama, despite multiple requests for clarifications. MediaTek said they’ll get back to us with a comment on the glitch alleged out by COAI.

According to the report, COAI has claimed that data services offered by a telco are affected when, in case of a dual SIM phone, a 4G SIM is placed in the secondary slot, which is actually meant for a 2G SIM. COAI claims that this“significantly deteriorates the throughput of any other operator’s 4G SIM present in the main slot by as much as 40%”. MediaTek, according to COAI, accounts for 35% of handsets in India.

It’s worth pointing out that MediaTek competitors Intel, Qualcomm and Huawei are all COAI members. Also, COAI has a history of blaming devices. When COAI filed a case in the Delhi HC in December 2015, challenging a TRAI’s order that penalised telecom operators for call drops, it had said that almost 36% of call drops in the country occurred due to inferior quality devices.

COAI’s solution: OTA updates

COAI has urged the authorities to mandate an Over The Air update within 4 weeks’ time to fix the issue, or else these manufacturers should withdraw all their phones from the market. This suggests that the glitch, according to what COAI claims, is a software issue, and not a hardware one. COAI wants the authorities to phase out all devices with a 2G only SIM card slot, ensure that dual SIM devices are manufactured by default to support both 3G and 4G standards, ban any device which affects data throughput, and mandate testing and certification.

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