As private telecom operators gear up to launch full-fledged 3G services, the Department of Telecommunications has asked three telecom service providers — Airtel, Tata and Reliance Communications — that have already started offering third generation mobile services to put on hold their video calling services until interception facilities are cleared by law enforcement agencies.
After an alert issued by the Union Home Ministry on the issue, the DoT has asked these companies to wait before offering video calling services due to the shortcomings in interception facilities.
These three operators were to start the video calling facilities by this year-end.
Notably, these three companies gave a demonstration of video calling facility to law enforcement agencies, who pointed out that online delivery of video call intercepts in ‘real time’ could not be carried out by any of the telecom operators.
Subsequently, the DoT asked these operators to put on hold their services until they address the concerns raised by the security agencies. Security agencies pointed out that outgoing and incoming video calls after eight minutes could not be intercepted and displayed.
“A conference call is not distinctly labelled. On the other hand, it is displayed as two different outgoing calls,” the DoT note said, adding that the service providers should be directed to make provisions for proper tagging.
While Bharti Airtel and Reliance have stated that they would offer only after complying with the security norms laid down by the government, Tata Teleservices said: “In the light of the government’s concerns over monitoring of some services, Tata Teleservices Limited has decided to keep services like video-calling in abeyance, till such time as the requisite authorities give their approval for the same.”