Telcos Reportedly Urge Government To Skip Local Testing To Avoid 5G Phone Shortage


By Rounak Jainmar

Telcos have urged the government to review the local testing proposed for 5G smartphones.

The Telecom Engineering Center had called for local testing and certification of 5G smartphones from 2023.

Telcos have claimed that this would bring down the availability of 5G smartphones in the country.

5G smartphone sales have been picking up pace and recently surpassed 4G smartphones globally. Even in India, 5G smartphones have become quite popular, despite the fact that the commercial rollout of 5G is yet to begin in the country.

As per an Economic Times report, telecom operators have warned against the government’s move to locally test and certify 5G smartphones sold in the country from January 1, 2023.

Local testing will hamper 5G smartphone availability

The Telecom Engineering Center (TEC), which is the technical arm of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in a recent internal meeting called for the inclusion of 5G smartphones under phase 5 of mandatory testing and certification of telecom equipment (MTCTE) regime.

Telcos have warned that this move would not only delay the rollout of 5G smartphones in the country, this could also impact India’s goal of becoming a global hub for smartphone manufacturing.

The telcos have said that local testing and certification of 5G smartphones will bring down the availability of 5G smartphones as testing and certification will require a lot of time. This move comes at a time when Reliance Jio’s Mukesh Ambani has called for 5G rollout to become a national priority.

The TEC had earlier called for local testing and certification of all smartwatches, smart cameras and wearables being sold in India.

As per the report, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which includes Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea, Ericsson, Nokia and others has written a letter to K. Rajaraman, the telecom secretary.

“We urge your intervention to instruct TEC to rescind the existing notifications covering all existing consumer electronic products under the MTCTE Certification regime and to desist in pursuing smartwatches, wearables, and smart cameras under Phase III and 5G mobile phones under the proposed Phase V of MTCTE,” COAI said in the letter.

The 5G spectrum auction is expected to be conducted later this year and the commercial rollout of 5G services is expected to take place by 2022-2023. While 5G is yet to roll out, India already has over 10 million active 5G smartphones.

While India has delayed the rollout of 5G services, India’s Minister for Communication, Ashwini Vaishnaw has claimed that the country will roll out 6G technology by 2023-end or early 2024.

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