Why Government wants Indian Navigation System NavIC mandatory in all the Smartphones in India?

By Poornima Rawat / Technical Correspondent THE GPS TIME

India to replace GPS with NavIC , Introducing NavIC Navigation in all Smartphones by next year

The Indian Navigation System NavIC developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for military and commercial purposes is now likely to enter the Consumer Mobile Market of India. The Government of India has made it mandatory to install NavIC on each and every Smartphone by January 01, 2023. 

However, there’s no fixed timeline decided yet for making NavIC mandatory, but the government is trying hard and in talks with all the Smartphone makers including Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi to include Indian Navigation System NavIC support on all their new devices to sell in India by next year.

This decision of the government to implement NavIC support by next year has startled the handset makers because of the strict deadline and also the additional production costs, research and testing clearances it will require in making the devices NavIC-compliant. A deadline of introducing NavIC-compliant smartphones starting from January 2023 is not enough for smartphone makers to integrate receivers enabled by NavIC on their devices. As per the sources, the smartphone brands have sought time from the government until 2025 for the implementation of NavIC on smartphones.

India’s Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) said that any particular timeline has not been fixed yet and therefore the matter continues to be under discussion with all the stakeholders.

Why the government wants NavIC to be on every Smartphone?

GPS or Global Positioning System is the most popular navigation system used worldwide by several countries including India. It is a navigation protocol owned and developed by the government of United States of America. The navigation system controlled by other governments during hostile situations can become inaccessible, therefore having once own navigation system is extremely important.

To be in line with Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) Campaign and to reduce the dependency on international navigation systems such as GPS, GLONASS etc, the government has developed its own Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) or NavIc (Navigation with Indian Constellation). NavIc compatible mobile devices in India will not only support the Atmanirbhar Bharat Campaign but also expand the navigation system as a standard global system which will compete with GPS.

Will Smartphones’ prices increase with the implementation of Indian Navigation System NavIC ?

Making a smartphone compatible with new navigation system is not that easy. It requires many other components, select chipsets with NavIC support, SoC, processors, hardware design changes and much more. This can increase the production cost and it is expected that the flagship phones, powered by top-of-the-line chipsets, might even see an increment in cost with the introduction of this new navigation. The price of the budget friendly and mid segment phones may see an increase.

About Indian Navigation System NavIC

NAVIC or Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is an Indian made home-grown navigation system fully operated by India. ISRO started developing this navigation system in 2006 which finally became operational in 2018. It comprises of eight satellites placed in Geostationary Orbit (GEO) & Geosynchronous Orbit (GSO) with an altitude of about 36,000 km at a higher orbit than the GPS of United States. It uses dual frequency bands thus help in providing better and accurate real time positioning information. It covers the Indian mainland and its adjoining regions extending up to 1,500 km from its boundaries. To know more in detail how Indian Navigation System NavIC works visit here.

At present the Indian Navigation System NavIC is only being used for providing emergency alerts in no terrestrial network connectivity areas, emergency warning alerts, providing information on natural disasters and for public vehicle tracking.The next aim of the government is to make this navigation commercially available to the general public. The government has started the 2021 Satellite Navigation Policy and is working towards expanding the coverage of Indian Navigation System NavIC to ensure its availability in any corner of the world.