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Govt to mandate ISRO-built navigation system, NavIC, for smartphones

Ishita Nigam

15 Sept 2023

NavIC is an Indian alternative to the American Global Positioning System (GPS) and is used by our military. It already has seven dedicated satellites and will increase to 12 in a few years.

The Indian government is planning to mandate integrating Navigation with Indian Constellation, or NavIC, with all smartphones. NavIC is India’s alternative to the American GPS. Although NavIC will not replace GPS in smartphones, it will provide another option for geo-positioning software.

The devices can support NavIC-enabled chips or install NavIC chipsets in the smartphones. All 5G phones will need to start offering mandatory support for NavIC by January 1st, 2025, and all other L1 band phones will have to embrace it by December 2025.

This ISRO-developed technology was launched in 2018 and is currently used by the Indian military and in some mobile devices and cars. The government has been discussing the possible rollout of NavIC-integrated mobile devices from assembly lines. The mobile makers raised concerns about increased manufacturing costs. However, Apple has agreed to integrate the technology into some newly launched iPhone 15 handsets.

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