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DOT Halts Vido Calling

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has directed three 3G Mobile service providers, Bharti Airtel, Tata Teleservices (Tata Docomo) and Reliance Communications (RCOM) to put on hold their 3G Video Calling services until interception facilities are cleared by security agencies or Home Ministry.

A demonstration was organized by Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices (TTSL) and Bharti Airtel during which the law enforcement agencies pointed out that on-line delivery of 3G Video Calls intercepts “In Real Time” could not be carried out by any of the above private 3G telecom operators.

The contents of such 3G Video calls were displayed after 5 minutes of the completion of these calls as against the requirement of the agencies which want such details and interceptions on real-time basis. During the demonstration of 3G services carried out by above three service providers, The conclusion came that long duration 3G video calls, both incoming and outgoing, could not be intercepted. The Private 3G service providers are pushing the contents of the 3G Video calls in raw format to the server of the agencies, which requires use of decoders to view and listen to them.

Security agencies have raised concerns on features and facilities that were required to intercept and monitor calls and messages. Indian security agencies which had earlier put Canadian company RIM’s Blackberry services in India, are now concerned about their ability to monitor video-calling.

Video SMSes, a service offered by Tata Docomo, is also on hold. But other services like Internet browsing, online video streaming and downloads are operational.

According to the letter issued by the DOT to these operators the shortcomings in interception facilities of Video calling on 3G services for the agencies need to be addressed before their commercial launch.

According to an official of a telecom company, these meetings are likely to take place in the next few days. “They cannot keep these services on hold for a long time,” he said.

Tata Tele has its withdrawn 3G video calling services, Earlier, Telecom Department (DoT) had asked 3G telcos to stop providing the facility as the security infrastructure needed for video calls was not in place. Sources says video calls clearance is pending for all telcos.

Tata Docomo offers 3G services in nine circles — Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and UP (West). It launched the service in early November. Reliance offers its 3G services in three metros — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata — and Chandigarh. The company said it had not launched video-calling services.

“Reliance Communications informed DoT yesterday as part of the mandatory process about our intent to launch voice and data services on our 3G network. RCom launched voice and data services to our subscribers on our 3G spectrum. We have not launched video call services on our 3G network. Law enforcement agencies are yet to give clearance for video call services to all telecom service providers like Tatas, Bharti, BSNL, MTNL and RCom,” said Reliance Communications in a statement.

Other than Reliance and Tata, state-owned telecom operators BSNL and MTNL have been offering 3G services for over a year now. Telecom operators like Vodafone and Airtel are planning to launch 3G services by the year-end.
DOT Halts Vido Calling DOT Halts Vido Calling Reviewed by Imran Baig on 7:28:00 AM Rating: 5
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