Millions of mobile phones, SIM card problems pile up for repairing amidst lockdown

More than 5 million phones have piled up for repair and servicing in India during the first phase of the lockdown enforced to control the spread of Coronavirus.

The numbers were collated by India Cellular & Electronics Association and the Consumer Electronics & Appliances Manufactures Association for the period from Janata Curfew on March 22 to April 13. The association members include the makers of brands such as LG, Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Sony, & Lava.

One of the top three smartphone companies in India is flooded with over 11,000 service complaints every day, an executive said, requesting anonymity. Xiaomi, which has the biggest share of smartphone sales in India, said it has received a strong influx of consumer queries and complaints during the lockdown and has tried to solve minor software issues over chat and emails.

ICEA chairman Pankaj Mohindroo said Mobile Phones are necessity, with about 900 million handsets in use.

“Though companies are running remote services, not all consumers can solve software issues and there is no way a hardware issue can be solved remotely. There is a huge pile-up of devices for repair.”

Pankaj Mohindroo

Today, smartphones are one of the most essential items, after food and groceries. It helps enforce social distancing by helping people connect without having to go out and this is something that cannot be overlooked,” a company spokesperson said.

An LG spokesperson said consumers are operating their air-conditioners without first getting them serviced as temperatures rise, while even water purifiers cannot be serviced or repaired right now.

Many companies have extended their service and repair warranty periods to provide consumers some benefits due to the lockdown.