Operators must provide interception capability by July 31

The Union government on Thursday permitted carriage of video calls on 3G mobile networks subject to an undertaking by the operators that they would provide interception capability by July 31.

The Tatas and the RCom have already launched the 3G service across various circles, while others, including Bharti and Vodafone, are likely to start the service soon.

Those offering the service were asked to stop the service as security agencies were not able to intercept the video calls on real-time basis.

Alternatives

The operators had several rounds of discussions with officials of the Telecom and Home Ministries to resolve the issue. They offered several alternatives, including a promise that a suitable mechanism would be worked out to monitor such calls.

“After examining various options, it has now been decided to permit carriage of calls on mobile networks subject to an undertaking being provided by the concerned service providers that they shall demonstrate the required capability by July 31, 2011,” the Telecom Ministry said in a statement.

The operators have to develop the required technical capabilities and offer the same for testing sufficiently in advance so that the testing process is completed and communication regarding satisfactory testing could be issued by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to the service providers by July 31.

The DoT and the Home Ministry were working together in putting in place some rules and norms for intercepting or monitoring of the 3G transactions in the interest of national security.

The 3G service includes voice call, video calls and data services. In the data services, the operators claim to offer high-speed Internet service.