Defence refusal tangles 3G rollout

The government is facing a dilemma as the defence forces have declined to accept a proposed ‘unsecure’ telecom network as replacement of its existing network. This may put on hold the telecom companies’ plans to roll out 3G services. Fully secure networks may increase the replacement costs by three times to Rs 2,700 crore. The department of telecommunications (DoT) has not decided who will bear this additional expenditure.

Sources maintain that the defence forces have informed DoT that they would release spectrum for mobile telephone services only if the network provided by the government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) for replacing their existing networks is ‘fully secure’.

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