Swedish and Chinese telecom vendors are likely to oppose the telecom department’s new order on mandatory testing and certification for telecom equipment from October 1, 2020 through TEC-approved local testing laboratories. On June 23, 2020, the DoT has issued a fresh directive that all kinds of telecom equipment and products will have to undergo “in-country screening from October 1, 2020.
DoT has notified Transmission Terminal Equipment (including multiplexing equipment), PON (passive optical network) family of broadband equipment, and feedback device under the second phase of Mandatory Testing and Certification of Telecom Equipment (MTCTE) regime.
"...it is, hereby, notified that testing and certification for following telecom equipment under Phase-II of Mandatory Testing and Certification of Telecommunications Equipment (MTCTE) regime as provisioned in Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules 2017, shall be mandatory with effect from October 1, 2020," the DoT notification said.
Multinational vendors want govt to defer the deadline again
Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and ZTE want the government to defer the in-country screening deadline, which is October 1, 2020, according to media reports. They said that the new process will delay 4G network rollouts by several months, and will lead to duplication of certification activity.
These players reportedly said that the new order will also impact 5G network roll out in the country and could create potential supply chain disruptions.
According to the Economic Times, local gear makers, however, support the order and are of the view that the mandatory testing will address the potential security threats posed by telecom equipment from Chinese vendors like Huawei and ZTE. As per the DoT notification, applications for testing and certification of these telecom products will be accepted on MTCTE portal from June 25, 2020.
"However, for sale, import or use of these telecom equipment in India, such certification shall become mandatory with effect from October 1, 2020," DoT said, adding that the schedule for mandatory testing and certification of remaining equipment will be notified subsequently.
The Economic Times report said that multinational telecom gear makers have contended that their equipment already come certified by accredited private global labs under the Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement (CCRA) before deployment in India.
DoT’s nodal agency, the Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC), has first issued the order on July 4, 2019. The deadline, however, has seen several extensions. TEC has eight testing labs in India, while there are about TEC-approved 50 labs in India.