Chinese Gear Makers To Miss India's 5G Bus? Govt Amends UASL To Mandate Procurement Of Equipment Only From Trusted Sources

by Swarajya Staff - Mar 11, 2021 05:46 AM
Chinese Gear Makers To Miss India's 5G Bus? Govt Amends UASL To Mandate Procurement Of Equipment Only From Trusted SourcesHuawei (Representative Image) (David Becker/Getty Images)

In a move that is believed to be India's first formal step towards keeping Chinese gear maker out of country's telecom expansion including the 5G technology roll out, the government has amended the Unified Access Service License (UASL) agreement for procurement of telecom equipment to mandate the use of hardware only from "trusted sources" from 15 June this year.

"The government through the designated authority will have the right to impose conditions for procurement of telecommunication equipment on grounds of defence of India, or matters directly or indirectly related thereto for national security," the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said on Wednesday (10 March).

The designated authority for the telecom equipment willl be the National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC), the DoT said.

The telecom firms will have to provide any information as and when sought by the NCSC, who will notify the categories of equipment for which the security requirements related to trusted sources are applicable.

The telcos will also be notified of the vendors from whom one can procure equipment.

The NCSC will also notify the vendors about the "list of designated sources from whom no procurement can be done", the DoT said.

Earlier in December 2020, the government had said that it would soon declare a list of 'trusted" sources for acquiring hardware for telecom networks and amend permits accordingly, reports Economic Times.

The development came amid the tensions with China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

"With effect from 15th June 2021, the licensee shall only connect trusted products in its network, and also seek permission from designated authority for upgradation of existing network utilising the telecommunication equipment not designated as trusted products," the DoT said.

The DoT further said that the latest amendments will not affect ongoing annual maintenance contracts (AMC) or updates to existing equipment already inducted in the network as on date of effect.

The latest move by the government is likely to negatively affect the business of Chinese telecom makers like Huawei and ZTE in India as the Indian telcos might opt for other gear makers to avoid government scrutiny.

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