One of the 3 Telecom Sagas of 2010 looks to have been settled yesterday with Mobile Number Portability finally making a pan India appearance. 3G too is slowly on its way. Twitter has several tweets with people claiming they have received messages from their respective service providers to the effect of ’3G coming soon’ etc. The third one however, the security saga is far from settled. For now there is relief for 3G service providers with video services being allowed again, but the RIM issue seems to be dragging on.
When we last wrote about it there was still some confusion about the NDAS tool that was meant to provide access to security agencies. Since then, RIM has said that it needs 18-24 months to set up local servers in India but also insisted that it should not be singled out by the Government. Does this mean the likes of Google and Skype will face pressure in the near future? There is still lack of clarity on the corporate email front as RIM has reiterated that it would not be possible for it to provide access to those services. It is also seeking assurance from the DoT that its services will not be banned in the interim period of 18-24 months. If the DoT obliges, the issue could be on ‘snooze’ for 2 more years. In the same article though, BusinessLine quoted a DoT official as saying that any such guarantee is out of question. Hmm!
And yesterday, ET reported that due to incessant leaks, RIM may suspend talks on the matter. The article also went on to say that the Canadian High Commissioner has expressed his ‘disbelief ‘ over the fact that confidential and sensitive information was continuously being leaked to the Indian Media. He apparently also said that suspension of talks made sense for now but reiterated RIM’s desire and intent to work with the Indian Government to find a solution to the encryption issue. RIM’s Vice President for industry, government and university relations, Robert E Crow is on his way to India to assess the leaks situation and all talks are on hold at least until then.
Reports from comScore suggest that Android has done significant damage to RIM’s business in America and is now also beginning to make a big appearance in the Indian Market. India is a huge market for RIM and it needs to do all it can to hold on here. I spoke to a few people who were about to buy phones in the near future, and most of them seemed to think that BlackBerry issue has been resolved. Of course the sample is too small to be indicative but I’m sure there are many more people out there who are under the same impression. In a way, that is good news for RIM, at least people are not panicking and shying away from buying BlackBerrys.
When – if ever – will this matter get resolved? What do you think?