The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has scrapped several security requirements related to offering mobile services near India’s international border areas in a bid to promote ease of doing business for operators. The move will also improve existing mobile coverage in the border areas.
The DoT has deleted key network security clauses of the unified licence (UL) agreement. For instance, Section 8.1 (i) required operators to ensure that their base stations, cell sites or radio transmitters are established far away from the international border of India and the radio signals emanating from them should fade out when nearing or about to cross international border. It required the operator to deploy suitable technical infrastructure to ensure that the radio signals become unusable within a reasonable distance across the border zones. This section has been scrapped by the DoT.
Additionally, it has deleted Sections 8.1 (ii), 8.1(iii), 8.1(iv), 7.3, 7.4 and 7.5 of the UL Agreement. Following the amendment, operators will not require prior army clearances for setting up base stations, cell sites and radio transmitters in areas within 10 km of the Line of Control (LOC), the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the international border between Akhnoor (in Jammu and Kashmir) and Pathankot. Prior approvals of local army authorities or the DoT for installing base stations, cell sites or radio transmitters to provide machine-to-machine (M2M) communication services in the border areas falling within 10 km of LOC, LAC and the international border between Akhnoor and Pathankot will also not be required.
In a notification regarding the amendment to the UL, the DoT stated that the licensor reserves the right to modify the terms and conditions of the license at any time if it is necessary or expedient to do so in public interest or in the interest of the security of the State, or for the proper conduct of the telegraphs.