COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) has raised a concern that smartphone users in India may see a sharp slowdown in the availability of the latest 5G mobile phones. The concern has been raised after the government’s announcement of mandatory local testing and certification of devices from January 1, 2023, before they are sold in the country. Also Read - Android hacks: How to block spam calls on your Android phone
COAI represents the top telecom service providers including Airtel, Jio, and Vi; global tech companies like Apple, Google, and more; and OEMs like Nokia, Ericsson, and more. Also Read - 5G will contribute $450 billion to India’s economy in coming 15 years, says Union Minister Piyush Goyal
All of the major telecom service providers have also warned the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that this development will hit data consumption and restrict market access, while at the same time depriving Indians of buying the latest 5G phones. Adding to this, they have also warned that this move will hinder the country’s ambitions of becoming a global manufacturing base. Also Read - Apple Watch Series 8 to feature new design with flat display, may launch alongside iPhone 14
COAI has urged DoT to stop TEC from implementing the planned local testing of 5G smartphones and other smart consumer electronic products.
Various industry experts have claimed that the MTCTE procedure is time-consuming and would put the burden of compliance costs of products for OEMs and restrict market access and delay the launch of new devices.
A senior telco executive told ET, “TEC’s latest decision is causing unease and uncertainty in the industry as any potential disruption in the availability of 5G smartphones would automatically slow down the pace of adoption of 5G services in India, and also reduce overall data consumption levels, which would ultimately hit telco ARPUs.”
This decision comes at a time when mobile carriers are preparing to invest crores in the upcoming 5G spectrum actions.
COAI claims that de-linking the consumer electric industry from the TEC-MTCTE certification regime would ensure the industry’s path for investment through PLI (product-linked incentive) scheme.