Home Ministry wants national roaming restricted under the NTP
MDT/PTI 04 June 2012

Home Ministry had no objections on removing the roaming charges but wants roaming facility to be restricted in certain regions and circles due to security considerations

New Delhi: The 'one-nation-one-number' provision, which exempts users from paying roaming charges under the National Telecom Policy 2012 (NTP-2012), will not be applicable in areas like Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast where Home Ministry has imposed restrictions on providing roaming facilities to pre-paid mobile subscribers, reports PTI.

In a slew of objections over the NTP-12, which was passed by the Union Cabinet last week, the Home Ministry has also asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) to ensure that in all policies related to number portability, law enforcement agencies are consulted.

On 'one-nation-one number' policy, the Ministry said it had no objections on removing the roaming charges but restrictions on roaming facility may have to be imposed in respect of certain regions and circles on security considerations from time to time.

The policy will not be applicable in restricted areas like Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast as Home Ministry has imposed restrictions on providing roaming facilities on pre-paid mobile subscribers.

Among the nine issue pointed out by the Ministry in its note about the NTP-12, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) also figures prominently.

"Enabling and enforcement of VoIP facility, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and law enforcement agencies should be consulted suitably at implementation stage," the note said.

Mushrooming of unregistered VoIP or Internet Telephony has become a security problem as the origin of caller and time of call cannot be ascertained prompting central agencies to ask service providers to come up with a solution within a month.

There have been series of meetings of security agencies with DoT, National Technical Research Organisation and service providers have failed to come up with any solution to block the unregistered VoIP, who operate from outside the boundaries of the country.

Now under NTP-12, the service providers have to work out a solution for real time interception and providing exact information of its origin of VoIP, the sources said.

Central security agencies have expressed concern over the lack of real time monitoring of communication exchanges taking place over the Internet and that telecom operators were not providing them the real time data of these conversations which is a security risk, they said.

The Ministry also informed the DoT of its previous note where the Telecom department had agreed to the Home Ministry's stand that long term security lies in an increased production of critical components (both hardware and software) in India.

The MHA also asked DoT to set up national test bed capabilities where all tests of imported components to check malware can be done within next two years as agreed in earlier meetings.

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