India set to ban 3G data

India’s 3G operators will reportedly be banned from offering data services within a week unless they can demonstrate the ability of law enforcement officials to monitor data traffic in real time.
The country’s Intelligence Bureau demanded a temporary ban on all 3G data services during a meeting between representatives of telcos, the home ministry and security agencies on Monday, the Economic Times reports citing a senior Department of Telecom (DoT) official.
Operators have been given seven days to show that data services can be tapped in real time, the newspaper said.
Last week, the DoT banned 3G video calls due to similar concerns over real-time tapping, despite operator objections that there is no technology available to monitor live video calls, and the country is mulling a law to ensure networks can be monitored in real time by security agencies.
State-owned BSNL and MTNL, as well as private operators Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, have already launched 3G services, and a ban would force 3G licensees Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, and Aircel to delay their launch plans.
“If we need to go through an equipment retesting drill, services will be delayed for at least six to eight weeks,” an anonymous telecoms official told the ET.