The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has said that Indian telecom operators can only source their network gear/equipment from trusted companies post-June 15, 2021. Any use of non-trusted products will require the licensee (telco) to obtain permission from the designated authority. This rule comes to light amidst all the ongoing tensions between India and China. The Indian government is worried about China meddling with the network infrastructure and database of the country. Thus Chinese vendors have been singled out as non-trusted sources for purchasing telecom gear/equipment from.
Government Unhappy With the Telecom Operators
According to a TOI report, the Indian government is a little unhappy with the telecom operators who have been getting their network gear from the Chinese companies despite being told to slow down all the business with the neighbouring nation.
Last December, the government said that a list of all the ‘untrusted’ vendors for procuring telecom equipment from would be released. The National Cyber Security Coordinator is the designated body through which the government can impose restrictions on telcos to buy network gear from select vendors.
However, it is worthy to note that the list won’t affect any ongoing arrangements between the companies. But as soon as the arrangement comes to an end, the company won’t be able to issue a fresh order or make a new deal with the ‘untrusted’ vendor.
Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE have missed out on much meaningful business in India because of the same. However, Huawei recently announced its partnership with Bharti Airtel.
Sunil Mittal led telco has backed Huawei at multiple turns, which makes it easy to assume the telco the government is disappointed with. With the new rule in place, Chinese vendors would lose out on the opportunity to provide telecom equipment for the fresh spectrum purchased by the telcos in the recent auctions worth Rs 78,000 crores.