BSNL, MTNL refuse to halt 3G services

Customers in 3G-equipped cities in India can breathe easy about a threatened shut-down of the service, as both state owned service providers Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd have decided to spurn a Department of Telecommunications notice to halt 3G services till security concerns are addressed.

The two companies said that their 3G services are fully compliant from a security point of view, as real-time monitoring of such services is possible.

Last week, the possibility of forfeiture of their authority to provide 3G had arisen, as the DoT had sent them a notice to stop the services until a strong infrastructure had been built to be able to track the devices that support 3G services.

The DoT sent the notice in spite the two telecom companies having explained to the government that interception of 3G traffic is possible during a meeting with the DoT on 4 March.

The Intelligence Bureau had informed the DoT that BSNL has not provided for monitoring video calls. ''The IB was of the view that till such facility is made available by the service providers, the various services should not be offered to the subscribers. Therefore, MTNL and BSNL may not provide such services to subscribers till monitoring is not available with IB,'' said a DoT note to the two PSUs.

''We have told the government that monitoring of 3G services is possible,'' said Kuldeep Goyal, chairman and managing director, BSNL. The two state-owned companies are currently the only operators offering 3G services.