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|September 10, 1998||
The government is planning to stipulate stiff norms for 'global mobile personal communications service' providers.
Cellular telephony is on the popular GMPCS services. The tougher rules being proposed by the government that wants to cover security risks include powers to take over the networks in emergencies and in public interest.
They would also have to provide necessary facilities to the government to counteract espionage, subversive acts, sabotage and any other unlawful activity.
The installation of the equipment and execution of the projects would also be taken up only after official approval.
One of the clauses reads: 'Telecom authority will have the right to take over the service, equipment and networks of the licensee in part or in whole of the service area in case of emergency or war or low-intensity conflict or any other eventuality in public interest, as declared by the government.'
These recommendations, made by the Department of Telecommunications, are to be taken up by the inter-ministerial group at its first meeting scheduled to be held soon. The group had been set up to clear applications after reviewing security implications of GMPCS technology.
The group committee, comprising members from the ministries of home and defence, departments of space and telecom and the cabinet secretariat will take a final view on the conditions laid down by DoT for grant of GMPCS licence.
The committee will also take a view on the allocation of specific frequency bands for the service. This becomes necessary, as the National Frequency Allocation Plan of 1981 had made no specific allocation for frequency bands for GMPCS.
DoT has initiated a review of the NFAP. Now, a number of security conditions will have to be fulfilled by the operators. These include a bar on employing any kind of encryption technology in the networks.
"The licensee shall not normally employ bulk encryption equipment in its network and will have to seek prior evaluations and approval from the authorities for any encryption equipment connected to their networks," a senior DoT officer has been quoted as saying.
"This has been done to forestall any attempt to install encryption technology that makes all voice and data communications virtually unbreakable," he added.
Some GMPCS operators have also proposed a 12-digit numbering scheme. The numbering scheme is under discussion in the ITU-T SG2. It will be finalised on the basis of the ITU-T decision.
- Compiled from the Indian media
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