COAI wants compensation for security costs

Dylan Bushell-Embling
03 Jun 2011
Daily News

Indian mobile operators should be compensated for the up to $5 billion it will cost to comply with India's new security norms, an industry group argues.

The government this week put the onus on operators to ensure their networks comply with security standards, and ordered them to implement new layers of security within 12 months.

But GSM industry group the Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) has asked the government to compensate its members for the expected costs of complying.

COAI director-general Rajan Mathews toldThe Hindu Business Line the body has suggested a number of options, including reducing the contribution telcos need to pay into the Universal Service Obligation fund to 1% of gross revenue from the current 5%.

Mathews said the GSM industry is particularly concerned about requirement for operators to set up a system allowing authorities to accurately identify the location of customers via LBS. The system is expected to cost mobile operators up to $5 billion.

Because of the limited coverage of other networks, most of the costs of the system will be borne by mobile operators, he said.

While the new rules are taking some flak from operators, they represent a backpedal from the controversial regime the government proposed last year.

Those guidelines, which would have required vendors to share their source codes with security agencies, were roundly criticized and after resistance from major vendors, the government scrapped its plans.

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