Govt allows video calls subject to operators meeting norms

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New Delhi, Jan 13 (PTI) After initial hiccups, thegovernment today permitted carriage of video calls on mobilenetworks subject to an undertaking by operators that theywould provide interception capability by July 31 this year.

Two operators -- Tatas and RCom -- have already launched3G services across various circles, while others includingBharti and Vodafone are likely to start services soon.

Telecom operators offering NextGen 3G mobile serviceswere asked to stop the services as security agencies were notable to intercept the video calls on real time basis.

The operators had several rounds of discussions withofficials in Telecom and home ministries to resolve the issueand they offered several alternatives, including an assurancethat a suitable mechanism would be worked out for monitoringsuch calls.

"After examination of various options, it has now beendecided to permit carriage of calls on mobile networks subjectto an undertaking being provided by the concerned serviceproviders that they shall demonstrate the required capabilityby July 31, 2011," Telecom Ministry said in a statement.

They (operators) have to develop the required technicalcapabilities and offer the same for testing sufficiently inadvance so that the testing process is completed andcommunication regarding satisfactory testing can be issued bythe DoT to the service providers by July 31, 2011.

The DoT and and the Home Ministry were working togetherin putting in place some rules and norms for intercepting ormonitoring of 3G transactions in the interest of nationalsecurity.

Earlier, DoT had issued notices to a few telecomoperators asking them to stop the 3G services, which includesvideo calling facility. It also asked them to put on hold thenew services till they adhered to security norms for legalinterception.

3G mobile services mainly include voice call, videocalls and data services. In the data services, operators areclaiming to offer high-speed Internet service and required tooffer monitoring facility.

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