June 15, 2021, has been decided as the date from when the telcos won’t be able to procure network gear/equipment from ‘non-trusted’ companies. The authority for making a list has been given to the National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC). Since the list hasn’t been finalised yet, the telcos are wondering whether Huawei and ZTE fall in the list of ‘trusted’ companies to provide network equipment. According to an ET Telecom report, clarity on the matter is required because both ZTE and Huawei have a strong footprint in networks all around the country.
NCSC to Oversee Telecom Gear Procurement in India
NCSC has been given the authority to oversee all the telecom gear/equipment procurement in India. If the telcos are sourcing their gear from a ‘non-trusted’ company, they will first have to get the permission of NCSC.
If all the Chinese companies, including ZTE and Huawei, are not listed under the ‘trusted’ list, Indian telcos would either have to procure equipment from other parts of the world or go for homegrown technology, which might be a little expensive.
But this will ensure that the complete 5G rollout takes place without any Chinese company in the mix. It will truly become the first step for India towards getting China out of its ecosystem.
The telcos will be asking NCSC to define how ‘trusted’ companies and vendors will be selected so that a roadmap for the future can be created. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) will request an early meeting with the NCSC to bring some clarity on the matter.
Earlier, it was being said that the core of a network must not contain gear/equipment from non-trusted companies. But now, it might be for the complete network and clarity on the same would be out soon.
In the meantime, Bharti Airtel has awarded a meaningful project to Huawei. It will be interesting to see which course the future of Huawei and ZTE goes in India.