BSNL, MTNL given time till Sep 30 for BlackBerry interception

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SummaryState-run BSNL and MTNL, which have missed three deadlines to ensure real-time interception of BlackBerry services, have now been given time till September 30 to come up with a solution.

State-run BSNL and MTNL, which have missed three deadlines to ensure real-time interception of BlackBerry services, have now been given time till September 30 to come up with a solution.

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.

BlackBerry finally placed a server in Mumbai for interception of its consumer services. Private operators, except Sistema Shyam, have implemented solution for interception.

The chiefs of the two telecom PSUs were called by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) recently. During the meeting, the top company officials said they were in talks with Israeli firm Verint for finding a solution to this long-standing issue, sources said.

"They sought some more time for implementing and we have given them time till September 30," a senior DoT official said.

A top official of one of PSUs said: "Verint is asking for exorbitant price for the software. From BSNL, they are demanding up to Rs 2 crore and MTNL Rs 3 crore for a service area.

"We get very less business from BlackBerry connections compared to the price demanded by Verint. Both of us may give up services if it is not commercially viable."

No comments was received from Verint on the matter.

BSNL operates in 20 out of 22 service area in the country, barring Delhi and Mumbai where MTNL operates.

BSNL has around 30,000 Blackberry customers across 20 circles and MTNL has 7,000 customers which include "Ministers, Members of Parliament and senior government officials".

The previous deadlines set by the government for the telecom PSUs were December 31, 2012, February 28, 2013 and April 30, 2013.

Sistema Shyam Teleservices ended BlackBerry services on its network as it had only few thousand customers and installing the interception solution wasn't commercially viable for the company.

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