The Indian government is tightening the rules around telecom infrastructure to ensure that the safety of the country remains intact. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has said that BSNL will also need to procure satcom (satellite communications) equipment by following the same rules as what the private telcos or private companies are following. In fact, not just satcom, be it any infrastructure-related equipment, the telcos will need the permission of the National Cyber Security Coordinator to procure it.
BSNL is anyway making its mobile network with the help of Indian companies. The government doesn’t want the state-run telecom operators to partner with foreign vendors (Chinese and non-Chinese) to roll out mobile networks. That is why there has been a significant delay in the rollout of 4G.
DoT Recently Closed a Major Loophole in Telecom License
DoT recently closed the loophole surrounding the procurement of telecom gear from non-trusted companies. Basically, the decision has been taken to keep the Chinese companies and gear manufacturers out of the Indian market.
The Indian government has a list of trusted vendors through which the telcos can purchase gear. Any company not on the list cannot be a partner for the telcos. DoT said that the telcos would need permission from the National Cyber Security Coordinator if they want to upgrade or expand the existing network using the gear of the companies not on the trusted list.
This started since the time tensions between India and China grew. Satcom (satellite communications) equipment is also included in the clause as, at the end of the day, it is also used for connecting people.
In the telecom space, this has hurt companies such as Huawei and ZTE majorly. Indian telcos have been working with Chinese firms for decades now. Only Jio is the private telco which hadn’t worked with a Chinese company. Jio had relied on help from the South Korean giant Samsung.