3G sparks revenue vs vulnerability debate

While technology will mean added revenue for service providers, it also leaves user vulnerable to cyber-crime


Geetanjali Minhas | May 29, 2010

While it may be old technology, more precisely seven years old, third-generation mobile technology, popular here and elsewhere as 3G is new in India, is generating quite a buzz with spectrum auctions having concluded barely weeks back. This high-speed internet access platform in telecommunications seems to be leap-years ahead of the broadband connection serving most internet-users in India. The auction prices for the spectrum point at a huge demand for the technology from mobile users in India which the service providers would want to tap into.

So decidedly, India seems to be quite gung-ho about 3G. But some experts have caution in mind when they talk about the seemingly cutting-edge technology.

At a press conference in Mumbai  to discuss the impact of 3G & BWA on mobile VAS, Vijay Mukhi, IT expert and co- chairman , Mobile VAS Committee, IMC, said, “ 3G  will push mobile commerce and mobile banking as people will use mobile in place of computer . Communication will be faster as compared to a landline. The killer application, as is the world over, will be pornography. The telephone service providers will not say anything about it as they will make a lot of money out of it. With increase in e-commerce cyber crime will also increase. ”

“The fact is that we do not maintain a support system for this. No hacker has gone to jail so far. I don’t think any hacker will spend much time in jail. If it takes twenty years to resolve a case obviously there will be no convictions. We are not doing anything to stop this.  The world today is celebrating 4G as by the end of the year America will be flush with 4G.”

“I want to ask the government why they are stopping me from using a newer technology. When people are using a newer technology and buying 4G phones. Why can’t I use 4G phones in my own country”, questioned Mukhi.

 “We do not have a court exclusively for cyber crime that says that all cyber crime should be resolved in three months or six months. So for foreigners, they can come to India and commit crime  and never get caught as there will be no conviction.   Worldwide the laws are stricter than they are in India. In America if a case carries on for more than one year it is called travesty of justice” said the IT expert.

J Gopal, Executive Director, MTNL, Mumbai, said that it is common knowledge that voice application  is not generating enough revenue , so MTNL decided to offer value added services  of 3G like  high speed, data calling, video calling , video conferencing , live TV, VOIP, mobile banking etc, etc. “This will generate the telephone giant more customers and help recover bid money for acquiring  3G spectrum .”

As a contrast to Vijay Mukhi’s comments on 4G and country’s weak cyber  laws, Gopal said, “ In many countries, 4G technology is not yet developed and standardized. Only when the technology matures and intra operability issues are sorted out we will launch 4 d technology in India.”

“We have strong cyber laws. We do not receive many complaints. With so many advantages offered by 3G , I don’t see any disadvantages.” Said Gopal.

Peeyush Agrawal ,CGM, MTNL said, “ We launched 3G last August  in Mumbai . The response is great and we have about a 100,000 customers so far. The network is in good shape now and since the last one month we have seen a huge interest shown by customers.”

So far, different platforms provide different speeds. 2G offers a maximum of  64 kbps, GPRS offers 84-100 kbps, E- Video provides 150-20kbps, and 3G   the minimum speed is 384 kbps and can go as high as 14.4mbps in ideal cases. 



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