May 20, 2016 8:17 am
Updated: May 25, 2016 11:55 am

Breakfast Buzz: Should an activated FM chip be mandatory in all cell phones?

WATCH ABOVE: Broadcasters are putting pressure on cellphone makers and providers to activate FM chips already installed on smartphones. Global’s Jayme Doll reports.

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It may surprise you that your cell phone could act as an FM radio without using any of your data. That is, if its maker, or your wireless company, allows it.

Many phones already have an FM chip built in, but some aren’t activated. Both Rogers and Telus say that it’s up to the manufacturer to decide. Most iPhones are sold with FM chips that are seldom activated.

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READ MORE: Unlock the hidden FM radio locked in smartphones, broadcasters urge providers

Broadcasters say in emergency situations, like the evacuation in Fort McMurray, having the service would have come in very handy. Radio is a traditional way for governments to communicate with people during a disaster — radios are cheap, very common, use little electricity and communication is instant.

There is a huge push to have wireless carriers allow the capability. However, some speculate that carriers are reluctant because of lost revenue from bandwith used for streaming audio.

Canada’s public safety minister and Canada’s broadcast regulator have yet to speak on this issue.

What do you think? Should an activated FM chip be mandatory in all cell phones?

Be sure to comment with your thoughts and watch Global Saskatoon Morning News at 7:55 a.m. CT to see if we pull up your comment.

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