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DoT summons mobile device makers, telecom companies to push 5G updates


The (DoT) has summoned device makers and on Wednesday, following complaints from the latter that phone-manufacturing have not released their updated software patches, over the air that allow users of 5G-enabled phones access the recently rolled-out service.

According to telecom companies, customers with phones are not getting the service on their phones, even though they have is available in select cities, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Varanasi.

Smartphone makers, on the other hand, have hit back at telcos, saying though they announced the launch of in the week of Dusshera, there are only a handful of 5G towers. According to device makers, telcos are unfairly blaming them for the problem; one telco in Delhi, they say, has only a few 5G towers with very limited coverage.

A senior executive of the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), industry body of and electronics manufacturers, said: “It will take us one to two months to send OTA software upgrades of all 5G phones bought by customers earlier in these circles (there are around 70 million 5G-enabled phones across the country). It takes some time. First, we have to test the software upgrade patches on various networks and this will take some time. Many device makers have already done the software updates in certain phone models and many have been enabled.” For instance over 150 models of 5g phones have already been enabled with a patch across operators. Apple Inc however is not in the list.

The high-level meeting, called by the DoT, will be chaired by both telecom secretary and MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) secretary and include all key device players, including Samsung, Apple, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, Karbonn, Lava, HMD Global, Micromax, Motorola, and OnePlus. The has also called representatives of the three private telcos — Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Idea — as well as chipmaker Qualcomm to resolve the contentious issue.”

There are three key points on the agenda of the meeting: One, enable the in-use handsets for 5G services launched on cellular networks (both standalone, which is with Reliance Jio, and non-standalone networks).

Two, discuss the intervention of handset manufacturers and telecom service providers to release FOTA (firmware over-the-air) upgrades for all 5G handsets. Three, prioritize software upgrades for early adoption of .

DoT summons mobile device makers, telecom companies to push 5G updates

According to device makers, telcos must ensure a minimum number of 5G towers in a circle otherwise, 5G services availability shall remain poor, even after software upgrades, thus hurting the battery life of the phone. They said the issue will be discussed in the meeting.

“Even if 5G is not available in most circles, 5G-enabled phones will continue to search for 5G signal in the backend and this will drain the battery,” said a senior executive of a device maker.

Mobile operators have hurriedly launched their 5G services and have ambitious roll-out plans. Reliance Jio, which has just undertaken a “beta launch”, has said that its 5G services will be available in every taluka, town, and district by the end of next year; Airtel has promised a pan-Indian coverage by March 2024.


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