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Handset Makers Reject To Put Panic Button On Phones: Report

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Handset makers have reportedly against putting a panic buttons on the existing mobile devices as directed by DoT. Handset makers want the rule be applied to only new devices.
According to the Economic Times report, handset makers have clarification on the cut-off date for putting panic buttons on the new devices. The handset makers have said that the maintenance release (MR) for known versions of the software would be anywhere between $500,000 and $750,000 (Rs 3.35 crore and Rs 5 crore) per device software version.
“Considering the huge number of models accumulated over the years, it will be near impossible to enable them through software update, or patch,” Economic Times quoted a letter from the Indian Cellular Association (ICA) to telecom secretary JS Deepak and electronics and information technology secretary Aruna Sharma.
The industry cited the existence of a large number of models as another hindrance in taking this initiative forward, arguing that some of the brands that these devices may belong to do not even exist. It also raised the issue of the number of operating systems in use at present.
“Meeting the time table for new models is already a stretch because the functionality requires a long lead time to design, implement and most importantly, test,” the association, that represents handset makers such as Apple, Samsung and Micromax, said.
The latest direction from the DoT follows an earlier order requiring handset makers to install panic button in all new phones to be sold January 1, 2017 onwards.
For existing phones, the handset makers will also have to arrange for installation of new software patch at retail outlets, DoT said in a recent order without specifying any timeline for the compliance.
The software patch will provide facility similar to panic button which at the press of ‘9′ or ‘5′ will generate a call to single emergency telephone number ‘112′, the order said The 112 number facility will be active from January 1. It will gradually replace all existing emergency numbers like 100 for police, 102 for ambulance, 108 for fire service, railway crime prevention number 1512, police headquarter helpline – 1090 (Uttar Pradesh) etc.
“It is requested to install the software patch (es) in existing mobile phone handsets in the country for implementation of feature/facilities of panic button. Further facility for uploading the developed patch may be created at outlets by the manufacturers/ distributors/retailers of mobile handset,” PTI report published in NDTV quoted the DoT order.
The government in April mandated that all mobile phones in the country from January 1, 2017 will be sold with panic button feature. As per the order, pressing panic button will make a call to single emergency number 112. Also, from January 1, 2018, government has mandated that no mobile phone handset manufacturer shall sell the new mobile phone handset in India without the facility of identifying the location through Satellite based GPS.

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