MediaTek Still In The Line Of Fire For Slowing Down LTE Connections In India

MediaTek Still In The Line Of Fire For Slowing Down LTE Connections In India

We’d reported about MediaTek based dual 4G SIM smartphones facing degraded 4G connectivity, about a week ago. Set when the issue was first reported, our article covered the why’s and the how’s (of resolution).

Since there’s been a bit of movement on the matter, we thought we’d provide you an update on the matter.

Despite MediaTek’s claims to the contrary, the Cellular Operator’s Association of India (COAI) still maintains that the cause of the problem are faulty MediaTek chips (that come on most budget-smartphones these days).

The COAI reportedly wants to eliminate the MediaTek processors from smartphones in the Indian market and wants to sanction a higher quality of handset testing.

Given such a staunch allegation, the COAI had written off a letter to the Telephone Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and is still awaiting a reply from the Regulator.

The letter which stated “Placing a SIM (which has only 4G LTE capability) in the number 2 slot (2G-only) significantly deteriorates the throughput of any other operator’s 4G SIM present in the main slot, by as much as 40 per cent” is fairly certain in it’s premise.

This explains why some of us face slow network connectivity every time we put in a 4G/LTE SIM in the second slot of our smartphones, and could never figure out as to why our handsets suddenly started functioning at a reduced speeds.

To prove whether the said allegations are true or not, certain smartphones which harbour the specific MediaTek chips were tested for their quality of cellular network connections. Different models from different brands were used – Lenovo A7000, Lenovo K4 Note, Moto G4, Xiaomi Redmi 3S, Redmi Note 3, Oppo A35 and Samsung’s Galaxy J7 – and issues were found on most of them.

The media’s attention then moved to manufacturers and most of them denied any such culpability or even reports of such issues. Xiaomi, too denied the existence of any of such issues with it’s handsets.
The analysis in the report specifically points out a degradation in network quality of service (QoS) for handsets that have a MediaTek chipset. All our smartphones are shipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon processors in India and are optimised for India-specific bands for the most efficient usage of 4G/LTE,” announced a Xiaomi India spokesperson.

TRAI is yet to respond to our letter. Neither has Department of Telecommunications (DoT) got back to us. TRAI has informally asked us to submit some additional information on the testing and indicated that they would like to call an industry meeting to discuss the matter”, said Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI.

In a later development, it came to the fore that the COAI assumes that this network degradation problem has more to do with a software malfunction than a flaw in MediaTek’s hardware.
The telecom Regulator has recently been requested to issue an order which calls out all the smartphone brands to roll out their respective Over The Air (OTA) updates within a (suggested) stipulated time frame of 4 weeks to fix the bug.

MediaTek made a statement recently assuring the public, “We recently became aware of these reports and it is of the utmost priority to address. We are already working closely with all the telecom operators to ensure any reported issues are resolved”.

It will be interesting to see how TRAI responds to the COAI’s letter and how MediaTek manages to come out of this fix. India is an important market for MediaTek, and it will undoubtedly be keen to win back the trust of its loyal customers and of course, the brands that use MediaTek wares in their phones.