India firms see solution on BlackBerry by next week

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) is expected to provide a solution by early next week to India’s security concerns on emails send through the services that could not be traced or intercepted, an official for mobile operators said on Friday.

A Research in Motion BlackBerry is shown in Toronto October 26, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

India’s ministry of telecommunications has written to RIM to put up servers in India, which would help securities agencies to monitor the services.

T.V. Ramachandran, director general of Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI), an industry lobby representing nine GSM operators, said there were many ways to monitor emails and the Canadian company had been told to come up with a solution.

“BlackBerry is cooperating and they are saying they will come up with a solution to the issue any day now,” he said.

India has held a series of meetings with RIM and mobile operators on the issue and telecoms ministry spokeswoman Esther Kar said the next meeting was on April 9.

“I am hopeful of seeing a solution even before 9th, I mean some time early next week,” Ramachandran said.

He said the operators had not taken a position on the issue regarding putting up servers in India, but had told BlackBerry it needs to find a solution to the security issue.

“There is more than one way of doing it. So they have to come up with a solution,” he said.

Satchit Gayakwad, RIM’s spokesman for India, reiterated the Canadian company would not comment on confidential regulatory matters.

BlackBerry services are offered in India by four providers, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and BPL Mobile.

Gayakwad had earlier said BlackBerry had 12 million customers worldwide in December, but would not give the number of subscribers in India.

An analyst has said there were more than half a million BlackBerry users in India.

Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan