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The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) is asking the government to halt the sale of Wi-Fi 6E routers that use the 6 GHz spectrum band, which has not yet been officially approved for use without a license.

The COAI sent a letter to the Department of Telecommunication on April 15, claiming that e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, and Moglix, as well as some offline traders, were selling Wi-Fi 6E routers.

Wi-Fi 6E is an extension of Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) that allows devices and apps to use the 6-GHz band for faster and more reliable connections. The 6-GHz band is a source of conflict between cellular and Wi-Fi industries in India, even though the World Radio Conference 2023 (WRC-23) has globally designated the upper 6 GHz band (6.425-7.125 GHz) for mobile services.

In India, the 6 GHz band is currently used by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for satellite operations. The Department of Telecommunication has not yet decided how to reallocate the band. The COAI and GSMA are pushing for the band to be accessible to mobile operators for 5G and future 6G services, while the Broadband India Forum is encouraging it to be an unlicensed band for affordable public Wi-Fi in rural areas. India has until 2027 to decide on the upper 6 GHz band under the WRC framework.

COAI Director General, Dr. SP Kochhar, stated in the letter that until a decision is made, the sale of Wi-Fi 6E routers should be banned as they are not allowed to use the 6 GHz band. The letter also mentioned that consumers could face legal consequences for using Wi-Fi 6E routers for unauthorized transmissions before the band is officially approved.

According to the Economic Times, Amazon, Flipkart, Moglix, and Google did not respond to inquiries about COAI's request. However, Moglix removed Wi-Fi 6E products from its website after receiving the email.

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