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Don’t make GPS mandatory for handsets, ICA tells TRAI; Our Take

A government that has a propensity to make things mandatory, did just that last year: the DoT had said in April 2016 that all handsets should mandatorily have GPS by January 2018, apart from having a physical panic button on each device. Now the Indian Cellular Association, which represents several major handset manufacturers in India, has asked the TRAI to recommend to the DoT that GPS should not be mandatory, saying that "the actual cost of implementation of this capability on low-cost Feature-Phones is huge and could actually have catastrophic consequences for the nascent Mobile Handset Manufacturing Industry that is just beginning to take shape in India." Note that the TRAI had previously pushed for making GPS mandatory in handsets, even though the DoT itself had initially rejected this, saying that making GPS mandatory would increase device costs. The ICA President Pankaj Mohindroo has asked for an "urgent intervention for issuing changes to the earlier recommendations made by TRAI so that due amendments could also be made by the DOT to the Order issued on the 22nd of April, 2016." A few things to note: 1. Impact on Feature Phone handset costs: As per a letter sent by the ICA to the Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad last year, the impact is greatest on low cost handsets: a feature phone priced at Rs 500-700 will cost around Rs 950 to Rs 1150. "Even for A-GPS the minimum requirement will be GPRS enabled feature phone with the requirement of fresh embedding of the software which will…

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Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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