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India wants smartphones to support NavIC local navigation from 2025; RTI reveals

In September, Reuters reported that the Indian government is pushing smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, Oppo, Apple and Xiaomi to make their smartphones compatible with Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC), the local alternative to the US’s Global Positioning System (GPS). RTI’s recent response obtained by Entrakr journalist Aroon Deep sheds more light on the government’s efforts and manufacturers’ objections to the payment, as well as the expected timeline. While Reuters reports that the government has asked manufacturers to enable NavIC support from January 2023, RTI’s response indicates that this has been pushed back to January 2025 based on requests from industry stakeholders. Why it matters: Other countries also have their own navigation systems similar to NavIC. The United States has GPS, Russia has Glonass, Europe has Galileo, and China has Beidou. It is important to have an independent navigation system since satellite navigation systems controlled by a foreign government are not foolproof in hostile situations. But pushing for NavIC-enabled phones requires major hardware changes and more time than the government is looking to spare. More importantly, this could increase smartphone costs, which is undesirable in a country where more than half of the population does not yet own a smartphone. Smartphone manufacturers have sought additional technical support from the government to alleviate some of the concerns. September 2nd Meeting between Government and Industry Stakeholders: RTI’s response consists of the minutes of the September 2nd meeting between the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), and…