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GSM operators ask DoT to remove 'location based service' clause in licence

Operators will have to spend Rs20,000cr to implement the hardware and software solutions for LBS

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

After failing to meet a deadline to install systems that identify location details from which mobile phone calls are being made, operators have asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to withdraw a clause related to location based services (LBS) in the amended licence norms.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which lobbies for the service providers, has recently communicated to the secretary R Chandrashekhar asking removal of the clause which says that the licensee should provide location details of mobile customers in the license service area as per a scheduled time frame. This was proposed to be part of the call data records (CDR) in the form of longitude and latitude, besides the co-ordinate of the cell sites.

The had, on May 31, 2011, amended all licence agreements of mobile service providers, asking them to implement Location Based Services (LLBS) over a three-year period. The deadline for the first phase of this plan was May 31, 2012, by when mobile operators needed to have the technology to trace the location of a mobile phone call to a 50-300 metre radius. The accuracy of this tracking also needed to be between 50 and 95%, to be achieved over a two-year period.

In its letter to the DoT, has also said that the government should fund the project for implementing as the “prohibitively expensive” project is “purely a security requirement”.

had reportedly pegged that the operators would have to spend about Rs 20,000 crore to implement the hardware and software solutions for location based services.

The technical solutions for better accuracies in the are neither technically feasible nor cost efficient, according to the communication. The accuracies required would not be possible to meet unless a separate active infrastructure is in place just to determine accuracy which is outside the domain of telecom infrastructure, it stated.

According to COAI, the operators have already explored various options to meet the requirements on But available solutions have many flaws that would result in non-compliance of the requirement and could invite onerous penalties, uit added.
In March last year, the COAI had reportedly written to the DoT saying that the stringent timeframe and accuracy conditions were announced without consultation.

First Published: Mon, January 21 2013. 18:25 IST