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Updated: January 31, 2013 19:35 IST

DoT pulls up telecom operators for not installing LBS

PTI
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A file picture of mobile towers over a commercial complext in New Delhi. Photo: V.V. Krishnan.
The Hindu A file picture of mobile towers over a commercial complext in New Delhi. Photo: V.V. Krishnan.

After being pulled up by Union Home Ministry, Department of Telecom (DoT) has asked all operators to install Location Based Servers (LBS) at the earliest to help security agencies track calls along with locations on real time basis.

DoT officials recently summoned all telecom operators and made it clear to them that the LBS should be installed at the earliest failing which action may be taken, official sources said on Thursday.

The Home Ministry had earlier conveyed its displeasure to Telecom Department for extending the deadline given to telecom operators for installation of LBS in their system.

There was a voice of dissent from Telecom operators who said installing of LBS equipment will entail heavy costs, the sources said.

Some of the operators instead suggested putting in place a Enhanced Cell Global Identity (ECGI) system that could cut down costs but it was not accepted by the DoT, the sources said.

The Home Ministry had demanded that all service providers must be able to provide location details of their consumers with certain degree of accuracy and these should be part of call detail records in the form of longitude and latitude, and coordinates of cellular sites, which can be made available to security agencies, they said.

The purpose is to track down the location from where the call had originated with an accuracy of 30-90 per cent in an area of 50-300 metres depending on the population and area.

DoT conveyed to the operators that Telecommunication Engineering Centre had gone in detail about the installation of LBS and declared it fit for installation by the operators, the sources said.

Some operators have termed the requirement put forth by the DoT as “very stringent” and “highly expensive” requiring massive exercise due to existing topography, technology and “non GPS handsets.”

They have told the Telecom department that none of the existing network equipment support location details to be provided with call detail records and hence DoT should not insist on the same, they said.

The operators maintained that as per license agreement only tower identity, and not its coordinates, is needed in the call detail records which has already been provided to the law enforcement agencies as and when required by them.

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