New Delhi: Indian telecom operators' demand for mandatory electronic SIM cards on all handsets costing Rs 10,000 and above has been denied by smartphone makers. Smartphone manufacturers said the move would raise the cost of mid-range phones (Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000), which account for about 50 per cent of total sales. In addition, handset manufacturers stressed that telcos' demand is based on a shortage of semiconductors, which can be called "hyperbole" as the situation in the semiconductor sector has been improving and is predicted to return to normal in six to nine months.

Last month, the telecom operators contacted the department of Telecommunications and requested handset manufacturers to insert electronic SIM cards in all devices priced at Rs 10,000 and above, in addition to physical SIM card slots. Telecom firms have said SIM card prices have increased four to five times as a result of semiconductor shortages and stockpiling by some vendors. The price of Pr phone cards as also increased.

b78698c802c154ae6a091d8cb47c8184"We believe that the introduction of E-SIM cards in this price range will decrease the number of physical SIM cards in India by a reasonable amount and all telecom operators will benefit from this," the Mobile Operators Association of India (COAI) said in a letter to the telecommunications ministry.

"ICEA firmly believes that the electronic SIM card should not be mandatory as it has its own advantages and disadvantages that can be altered by the handset manufacturing industry itself," Pankaj Mohindroo, president of the Indian Mobile Phone and Electronics Association (ICEA), said in a letter to the Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology dated August 10.

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