US-based technology licence firm Xperi sees potential for Indian mobile makers to have an edge globally if they integrate digital radio systems in the devices. The company has started engaging with mobile manufacturers, government and operators in India to develop the digital radio ecosystem once the government allows the roll out of the technology in the country, Xperi Corporation digital platforms senior vice-president Ashruf El Dinary told PTI.
“Any manufacturing that is done in India already benefits. If the local manufacturing is increasing or developing to suit the local market, digital radio being part of that local market in India, will only increase the production status of digital phones and digital receivers for other parts of the world. I think it’s a very good opportunity or promising opportunity for India to take a leading role there, Dinary said.
The government has announced plans to introduce digital radio in Akashvani by 2024.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recommended that the private sector should be permitted to provide digital radio broadcasting services.
According to the regulator, FM radio broadcasters can provide multiple channels or services on single frequency in existing FM bands by using digital radio broadcasting technologies.
Dinary said that his company has been able to achieve 12 audio channels in the same set of radio frequency at All India Radio which means that broadcasters can simultaneously run 12 different radio channels in digital radio systems on the same frequency instead of just one channel that they run in analog transmission at present.
He said that digital radio allows operators to show images on the screen of the device which can be used for visual ads, messages, traffic data, emergency alerts and help service providers increase their revenue streams.
Dinary said digital radio receivers are a little bit more expensive compared to analog radio receivers but their integration in mobile phones and production in large volume will bring down the cost gradually.
When asked about the impact of semiconductor shortage on the roll out of the digital radio ecosystem, he said that the situation cannot be fully managed at present but things are expected to be on track by 2023.
“I think we’ve got maybe another 12 to 18 months of this and when that happens, we will be ready to go with HD radio products in India. I think it will take some time for the government to make that decision in terms of their regulatory policy. We will be well aligned with their decision plans,” Dinary said.
The investment decision of the industry to invest and roll out the digital radio ecosystem depends on government decision and guidelines in India.
Trai has recommended that the government should grant fiscal incentives in the form of lower tax rates to manufacturers of digital radio receivers.