DoT asks telecom operators to deploy LBS urgently

Telecom Lead Asia: Department of Telecommunications (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.

This follows directive from the Union Home Ministry to DoT.

Indian operators are cagey about investing in LBS infrastructure, though several equipment vendors offered cost effective solutions.

Last year, reported that Polaris Wireless, CommScope, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks and Creativity Software are pitching for bagging around $500 million to $1 billion LBS project from Indian telecom operators.

Operators typically are concerned with cost, ease of deployment, time to market, scalability, and ability to attain the accuracy levels set out in the DoT mandate.


Last year, Srinivas Varadarajan, vice president Sales and Business Development Asia, Polaris Wireless, told that the LBS solution can be implemented in 5-6 months. Polaris Wireless offers software-based wireless location solution for operators, government agencies, and application providers.

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, PTI reported today.

The Home Ministry had earlier conveyed its displeasure to DoT 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.

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

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.

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 meters 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.

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.

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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