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India's DoT caves and exempts 5G devices from testing

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has exempted 5G mobile phones, smartwatches, cameras and POS machines from mandatory testing, saying that it causes a regulatory overlap with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

MeitY already has a rule in place that demands compulsory registration of specified goods.

India is finally moving closer to the launch of 5G, with the spectrum auction on the horizon.
 (Source: Per Bengston/Alamy Stock Photo)
India is finally moving closer to the launch of 5G, with the spectrum auction on the horizon.
(Source: Per Bengston/Alamy Stock Photo)

The move comes at a time when India is moving closer to the commercial launch of 5G services and accelerating the introduction of new 5G devices.

These include POS machines, laptops, electronic keyboards and other electronic equipment. Another round of testing by the DoT would have meant further delay to the launch of new telecommunication products, as well as increased compliance costs for all players.

"The exemptions on these widely used products will reduce the compliance burden and will enable the industry to roll out their products faster. It will reduce import delays," said the statement issued by DoT.

Cause and effect

The decision comes after severe backlash from telecom operators and mobile phone manufacturers over new rules announced by the DoT.

The Mandatory Testing and Certification of Telecommunication Equipment (MTCTE) regime meant manufacturers would have to test and certify devices that could be used for telecommunications from January 1, 2023.


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According to industry sources, the DoT also planned to put 5G mobile phones under the MTCTE framework.

Operators made a strong case against compulsory testing, saying that it would hit data consumption, restrict market access and stop consumers from accessing and buying the latest 5G mobile phones.

They also warned that it would be a huge hindrance to India's goal of becoming a global handset manufacturing hub. The industry has welcomed the decision.

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— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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