Indian IT Ministry (MeitY) on 28 April, sent an advisory to smartphone manufacturers that they will require to include FM Radio as an inbuilt app in their devices. Following the advisory, manufacturers may bring the FM Radio app back to their Indian customers.
In recent years, following the rise of streaming platforms and online radios such as iheartradio many smartphone companies had started removing FM Radio applications from mobile devices. Apple too does not provide FM Radio on iPhones. MeitY acknowledged in its notice, stating, “a drastic fall in mobile phones with FM tuner features”.
The ministry expressed concern over the fact that the removal of FM affects the “poor’s ability to access free FM and the Government’s ability to give real-time information, especially during emergencies, disasters, and calamities.”
The government of India has requested Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) and Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAID) to circulate the notice among all mobile manufacturers.
The ministry also pointed out the importance of radio, writing, “FM broadcast is a robust and reliable communication system. FM stations serve as important communication links between the local authorities and people in times of natural disasters.”
Besides, their use and importance during emergencies, radios have also been an important part of the lives of Indian lower-middle class and remote villages. Because of being cheap and accessible, the technology comes in handy for those who do not have the means to purchase advanced communication tools.
Radios have drastically changed over the years. Now, this technology is not limited to big old boxes but rather has been incorporated with contemporary streaming services. For example, YouTube now offers users to create custom radios for its users. However, their abilities such as providing real-time information and easy accessibility have managed to maintain a fine line between radios and streaming services
Following the IT Ministry’s advisory to smartphone manufacturers for an inbuilt FM radio app, it seems smartphone manufacturers will have to bring FM Radio back to their devices in India as an inbuilt feature or radio app.
Source: MeitY Advisory