The government on Wednesday said the guidelines for the next generation mobile services that include video calls will be issued soon addressing all security concerns raised by the Union Home Ministry.
“3G issue is almost resolved, soon you will be able to see new guidelines,” Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said in New Delhi.
The comment from Mr. Sibal comes a day after Home Minister P. Chidambaram sought to downplay problems in beginning the 3G mobile services saying the telecom operators can roll out 3G telephony while working on the modalities to provide monitoring facilities to the security agencies.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) and the Home Ministry were working together to frame rules and norms for intercepting or monitoring of 3G transactions in the interest of national security, Mr. Chidambaram had said.
Earlier, the DoT had issued notices to a few telecom operators asking them to stop the 3G services, which includes video calling facility. It also asked them to put on hold the new services till they adhered to security norms for legal interception.
The DoT and central security agencies had convened a meeting of industry officials in December 20 last year and asked them to stop 3G services rollout till they demonstrate interception facility.
3G mobile services mainly include voice call, video calls and data services. In the data services, operators are claiming to offer high-speed Internet service and required to offer monitoring facility.
The DoT had sent a letter to Tata Teleservices and RCom asking them not to launch 3G services on commercial basis till they demonstrate lawful interception facilities.
The letter had pointed about shortcomings in interception facilities of video calling on 3G services for the agencies which need to be addressed before their launch.
According to an exhaustive note sent by the Union Home Ministry to the DoT, a demonstration was organised by Reliance, Tata Teleservices and Bharti during which the law enforcement agencies pointed out that online delivery of video call intercepts “in real time” could not be carried out by any of the telecom operators.
The contents of such calls were displayed only after five minutes of the completion of these calls as against the requirement of the agencies which want such details and interceptions on real-time basis, official sources said.
During the demonstration carried out by these telecom service providers, it came to light that long duration video calls, both incoming and outgoing, could not be intercepted, the sources had said.
According to sources, operators have also offered to work with experts to provide interception of video calls.
The government, meanwhile, has permitted the service providers to offer services while security mechanism was being put in place.