The Department of Telecommunications has made it mandatory for all smartphones sold across the country after January 1, 2018, to have the Global Positioning System installed in them.
“With effect from 1st January 2018, no smartphone handset manufacturing company shall sell new smartphone mobile handset in India without the facility of identifying the location through satellite-based GPS,” the department said in the notification that was published in The Gazette of India on November 23.
With this amendment the government has modified its notification issued in April 2016 that had mandated that all handsets must have a functional Global Positioning System and a panic button. The button was meant for people to easily reach out for help during emergencies. All handset makers have been selling phones with panic buttons installed in them from March, according to the Economic Times.
The exemption for feature phones would save customers from paying almost 30% more, the Economic Times reported. Had the government stuck to its original position, the cost of such phones, which are usually priced between Rs 500 and Rs 1,500, would have cost about Rs 400 more, the newspaper quoted unnamed industry officials as saying.