COAI says 4G LTE handsets slow down network; seeks TRAI intervention

| Updated on: Jan 15, 2018


Telecom regulator says no provision in TRAI Act to check standards of handsets/devices

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) citing a recent test conducted by individual telecom operators, which is said to have found that some 4G LTE mobilephones, especially those with MediaTek chipset, slow down network quality.

COAI has asked the telecom regulator to intervene and mandate device testing and certification for compliance in Indian environments before launching any device in the Indian market.

The COAI has mentioned eight devices in the letter — Lenovo A7000 and K4 Note, Xiaomi Redmi 3S and Note 3, Motorola Moto G4, Oppo A35, Micromax Canvas E451 and Intex Aqua Craze.

“It was observed that placing a SIM (which has only 4G LTE capability) in the number 2 slot (2G-only) significantly deteriorates the throughput of any other operator’s 4G SIM present in the main slot, by as much as 40 per cent,” Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI, said in the letter, which BusinessLine has access to.

Mathews said all devices that have MediaTek chipsets are likely to experience this.

“It is estimated that MediaTek is present in more than 35 per cent of smartphones in the country. Companies such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have conducted these tests in many circles, including Gujarat, Kerala, Kolkata and Mumbai, and will be conducting more such tests in other circles, too,” the COAI letter said.

The cellular operators’ body has asked the TRAI to issue policy guidelines “enforcing device and network standards such as radio attributes, cause-code handling procedures, minimum processor and memory requirements, etc.”

“Since these issues have a cascading impact on the data throughput experienced by millions of customers, an urgent policy intervention is solicited,” Mathews added in the letter.

However, a senior TRAI official said: “There is no such provision in the TRAI Act to check standards of handsets/devices,” and it may refer only to the Department of Telecommunications.

According to CyberMedia Research, in 2016 calendar year, 4G constituted about 69 per cent of total 113 million smartphone shipments. In CY 2017, 4G is set to cover near 100 per cent of smartphones.

Published on March 27, 2017
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