Smartphone and feature phone-makers, especially having phones in the lower price segment, have opposed the government’s move to make a ‘panic button’ mandatory on all phones saying the regulation would lead to hike in prices of cheaper handsets.
The government’s move requires all handset-makers to install a global positioning system (GPS) to identify the handset user’s location from January 2017. The manufacturers argued that this would hit users at the lowest level as the cost of basic phones would go up by Rs 400 - a steep rise keeping in mind that the cheapest device is available for Rs 500.
The additional cost would wipe out the entry-level feature phone segment and potentially take away basic connectivity from millions of consumers, handset makers said.
“Implementation of GPS in new mobile handset will not be in the interest of consumers at the bottom of the pyramid,” Indian Cellular Association’s (ICA) president Pankaj Mohindroo said in a letter to telecom secretary JS Deepak, a copy of which was seen by Economic Times.
“We suggest this particular aspect may be relooked at,” he said hinting that alternative GPS or A-GPS could be another way for security agencies to track consumers in need.
While adding the GPS component would cost the handset-maker up to Rs 66.7 ($1), the required software and technical enhancement would raise the overall increase in cost of at least Rs 266 to Rs 400 ($4-6), ICA explained.
The association, which represents handset-makers, also argued that the directive from the government would also hurt the global manufacturing hub image of the country.