India: More than 18 months after the government made it mandatory for mobile companies to set up location-based services, the operators are yet to implement it.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has told the Department of Telecom (DoT) that telecom companies will not be able to set up the system unless the government bears the cost.
In May 2011, the DoT had amended the mobile licences making it mandatory for setting up location-based services (LBS). This was done at the behest of security agencies because this technology, when implemented, will allow law enforcement agencies to pin point the location of a mobile user. According to the order issued by the DoT, operators were supposed to build capability that would show the location of a subscriber with an accuracy of 50 metres.
The operators have raised multiple issues, including costs and technical feasibility of achieving the requirements specified by the DoT.
According to mobile companies, it would cost over a billion dollars to implement this technology. In addition, they say the technology does not allow achieving the accuracy levels required by DoT.
“The service providers have diligently worked and explored various options to meet DoT requirements. The available solutions have many aspects that do not meet the technical requirements and have many flaws, which would result in non-compliance of the requirement when implemented on ground leading to the potential imposition of onerous penalties,” the COAI said in a letter to DoT.
However, technology vendors claim that the accuracy levels suggested by the DoT are achievable. For example, Polaris Wireless, one of the vendors of LBS technology, has written to the DoT that it has conducted trials with two operators.
However, COAI said the technical solutions available are not cost efficient. “Since this is purely a security requirement, we believe that the project should be funded by Government,” COAI said.
Source: The Hindu