BSNL mulling BlackBerry services launch

April 24th, 2008 - 9:54 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) State-run telecom giant Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd is planning to launch BlackBerry services once the controversy surrounding its operations is settled. “We are in dialogue with BlackBerry services. We will be ready to launch its services once the controversy is resolved,” BSNL chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goyal told reporters on the sidelines of a conference here Thursday.

BlackBerry’s services were introduced in India in October 2004. However, it came under the government’s scanner last year when an application by Tata Teleservices Ltd to launch a similar service was rejected over security concerns.

On April 16, Minister of State for Home Affairs Sriprakash Jaiswal told the Lok Sabha that the government asked telecom operators not to offer “certain” BlackBerry services until a proper monitoring system was put in place.

“The government has issued instructions to all mobile service providers, inter alia asking them not to connect or provide/run certain BlackBerry services unless the required monitoring systems are in place,” Jaiswal said.

By “certain” services the government meant that the four service providers currently offering BlackBerry services in India - Airtel, Vodafone, BPL and Reliance Communications - should temporarily stop the services between one BlackBerry to another BlackBerry user.

This is because calls and e-mails exchanged within BlackBerry handsets cannot be intercepted as the servers are based in Canada.

India has asked Research in Motion (RIM), the licensor of BlackBerry, which has over 12 million users globally, to route all its calls and e-mails through servers based in India to allow security agencies to read them as it fears its usage by terrorist outfits.

RIM officials are believed to have sought time till the end of the month to explain their position and address the issues voiced by the government.

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