Data headache looms for mobile operators

Network operators will have to retain data
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Network operators will have to retain data

Mobile phone operators and internet telephony companies will soon face the "onerous burden" of getting their systems compliant with new European data retention regulations.

The EU Directive on Data Retention requires communication service providers and network operators to retain traffic and location data to aid the investigation of serious crimes.

EU member states have until September 2007 to convert the directive into national laws.

Service providers will have to update their traffic data systems in order to comply with the new obligations by the time various national governments implement the European provisions on data retention as law, according to analyst Frost & Sullivan.

This will be an "onerous burden" on communications service providers and operators, warned Fernando Elizalde, senior industry analyst at the analyst house.

Elizalde said the EU Directive will apply not just to mobile and fixed telephony but also to internet telephony, email services and messaging services. And some providers previously not required to retain data will now be governed by the Directive's stipulations.

As a result, call-detail recording systems will need to be updated to cope with the increase in communication and traffic data that must be stored and managed. This means costs in the form of assessing current systems, adapting them and integrating new systems to achieve regulatory compliance, the analyst said.

As national governments begin work on the transposition of the EU Directive into national laws, service providers and industry organisations should work with regulators to "positively influence" issues left open in the European legislation - such as how quickly companies have to respond to requests for information, the analyst said.

Editorial standards