New Delhi: DoT has given another extension of six months to state-run MTNL for implementing a system that will enable lawful real-time interception of Blackberry services as required by security agencies, sources said.
MTNL had approached the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) in mid-April seeking extension of deadline by six months to which the department has acceded to, official sources told PTI.
"It is requested to kindly extend the date of technical solution for monitoring of Blackberry services in its Delhi and Mumbai networks by six months so that the services can be continued to the important dignitaries of government of India," MTNL CMD AK Garg wrote to DoT, sources said.
The earlier deadline was April 30, 2013.
This is the third time DoT has extended deadline for MTNL from the earlier set deadline of December 31, 2012 as it being a public sector company can purchase the solution through a tender process only which is taking time, sources said.
Garg in his communique also said the other PSU telecom operator "BSNL is also facing similar problem and probably will be seeking extension of time" but the same could not be confirmed independently.
No comments were received by MTNL.
MTNL had around 3,773 customers using Blackberry services by the end of December 2012 which include "Ministers, Members of Parliament and senior government officials".
All private telecom operators are believed to have installed BlackBerry monitoring solution by December 31, 2012 for lawful real-time interception of Blackberry services after the Canadian-based manufacturer of smart phones provided a solution for the same.
Blackberry services were termed as security threat at one point of time by security agencies as they were unable to decode the communication made through devices and systems.
RIM has placed a server in Mumbai in this connection and also stated that it has complied with the requirements of the probe agencies after their services were red-flagged.
MTNL is installing these solutions through a tender process and has received two price quotations from vendors of around Rs 2.9 crore for Delhi and Rs 1.2 crore for Mumbai.
The company said it will need time to evaluate and install these systems.
First Published: Sunday, May 12, 2013, 12:30