Telecom operators in India will be
forced to spend $5 billion to meet LBS security needs of the government,
according to the Cellular Operators Association of India.
While the industry heartily supports
the need for ensuring the security of the country and is happy to implement
government’s requirements, we do not believe this should be done at the sole
cost to operators. Discussions with providers of LBS solutions have also raised
serious concerns on the feasibility of meeting government’s strict
Based on, the technical standards
for accuracy levels as defined by the Government, the scale of implementation,
the execution of the project and the complexities involved there is no solution
at present that meets the DoT mandate. The costs to implement such a system
have been estimated at approximately $5 billion.
The industry is concerned about a back lash from customers on privacy as a
result of a lack of clear policy guidelines on the matter. This is because the
new Equipment Security Agreement requires operators to maintain location
information up to accuracy of 50 meters for customers specified by Security
Agencies commencing 1st June 2012, and on all customers,
irrespective of whether they are the subject of legal intercept or not from
COAI looks forward
to working with the government to investigate feasible solutions, adopt
realistic time frames for implementation and provide funding for the cost of
implementing the solution (hardware and software).
In a press release, COAI said it
thanks the government for issuing the new simplified Equipment Security agreement
which incorporates many of the suggestions and requests made by the industry.
This will now allow operators to start ordering and installing the much needed
network equipment required to keep pace with the rapid growth of the industry.
However, the industry remains
concerned with the increasing trend of government to push the cost of
government requirements, security and otherwise (e.g. MNP, UCC, Customer
Verification, etc.), on to operators. The new example of this is the cost to be
borne by operators for implementing Location Based Services (LBS) to meet
government’s security needs, as per the Equipment Security agreement.