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Telcos request DoT action on illegal sale of Wi-Fi 6E routers in India

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In Short:

Indian telecom operators are concerned about illegal sale of Wi-Fi 6E routers operating on 6GHz band in India through e-commerce websites. COAI has written to DoT, stating that spectrum bands for Wi-Fi have not been assigned by the government yet. Vendors like TP-Link and Netgear are selling these routers on platforms like Amazon and Flipkart. Telcos want government intervention to ban sale of such products.

Indian Telecom Operators Seek Government Intervention Against Illegal Sale of Wi-Fi 6E Routers

Indian telecom operators have raised concerns about the illegal sale of Wi-Fi 6E wireless routers in the country through e-commerce websites and online platforms. These routers operate on the 6GHz band, which has not been designated for providing Wi-Fi services and is not license-exempt, according to the telcos.

Industry Response

In a letter to the Department of Telecommunications, SP Kochhar, Director-General of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), highlighted the issue and emphasized that the government is yet to make a policy decision regarding the use of the 6 GHz band for Wi-Fi.

The letter, dated April 15, 2024, expressed concerns over the unauthorized transmissions that could result from the sale of Wi-Fi 6E products using the 6 GHz band in a delicensed manner.

Vendor Activity

According to data provided by the telco industry association, TP-Link, Deco, Netgear, Google, and other vendors are selling Wi-Fi 6E routers in India through platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, and Moglix.

Regulatory Framework

Kochhar reiterated that under the Indian Telecommunications Act, 2023, the central government owns the spectrum, and any use of the spectrum requires assignment from the government. The Act also allows for license-exempt use of spectrum under specified conditions set by the government.

Referring to the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, Kochhar emphasized that possession of wireless telegraphy apparatus without a license is prohibited.

Call for Government Action

COAI urged the Department of Telecommunications to intervene and ban the sale of Wi-Fi products operating in the 6 GHz band, both offline and online, through e-commerce platforms. Kochhar stressed the importance of strict measures to address the issue.

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