Samsung and Qualcomm, along with other tech companies, are objecting to India’s plan to introduce technology for live TV broadcasts on smartphones.
What Happened: The firms argue that the required hardware changes would increase the cost of devices by $30, Reuters reported. India is contemplating a policy that would mandate the inclusion of hardware in smartphones for receiving live TV signals without relying on data or WiFi.
The proposed technology, ATSC 3.0, is widely used in North America for its ability to precisely locate TV signals and provide high-quality video.
However, the companies claim that their existing smartphones in India lack compatibility with ATSC 3.0. Making these devices compatible would raise the cost of each unit due to the need for additional components. They are concerned that such a change could disrupt their existing manufacturing plans.
In a joint letter addressed to India’s communication ministry, Samsung, Qualcomm and telecom equipment manufacturers Ericsson and Nokia expressed their opposition to the adoption of this technology. They argued that adding direct-to-mobile broadcasting could negatively impact battery performance and cellular reception.
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The letter, dated October 17, stated that there was no merit in progressing discussion on the adoption of the technology. The idea of digitally broadcasting TV channels on smartphones has faced limited adoption in countries like South Korea and the United States due to the lack of devices that support this technology.
For the Indian government, the inclusion of live TV broadcast features on smartphones serves as a means to alleviate congestion on telecom networks, which has increased due to higher video consumption.
The India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), a lobbying group representing smartphone manufacturers like Apple, Xiaomi and others, privately opposed the move in a letter October 16, stating that no major global handset manufacturer currently supports ATSC 3.0. Samsung holds the largest share of India’s smartphone market at 17.2%, followed by Xiaomi at 16.6%, with Apple holding 6%, according to research firm Counterpoint.
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