The government is currently in process of creating a list of ‘trusted’ vendors for supplying core network equipment to the telcos. Chinese companies are seen as a cybersecurity threat by the government.
Thus, the government is indirectly asking the telcos to refrain from awarding new contracts to Chinese vendors. June 15, 2021, is slated to be the date from when the telcos would be barred from sourcing any network gear from ‘non-trusted vendors.
Post the concerned date; the telcos will have to take permission from the government’s designated authority for including any of the equipment from non-trusted sources into their networks.
Thus, Chinese firms were expected to be absent from the rollout of the 5G network in India. But now, it seems like that might not be the case after all.
Chinese Firms Can Come Into the ‘Trusted List’, If…
According to a Livemint report, Chinese vendors such as ZTE and Huawei can become a part of the ‘trusted’ vendors if they meet the required criteria. The criteria are under preparation by the government.
This will mean that they might also be able to provide equipment/gear for 5G networks that roll out in the future. Earlier, 5G’s future in India was assumed to be without any Chinese presence after the government started sidelining Chinese firms/vendors.
In June 2021, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will announce the list of trusted vendors the telcos can source their equipment from.
The government has set the National Cybersecurity Coordinator (NCSC) as the designated body for handling all the matters related to the trusted and non-trusted vendors.
Telcos will have to submit their requests for sourcing equipment from non-trusted companies by giving all the details about the vendor and its products to the designated body. They can purchase the equipment only after the authority has approved it.
It will be interesting to see whether it is all the European vendors or if Chinese vendors get a chance.