Telcos to seek clarity if Huawei, ZTE gear is in list of ‘trusted’ goods

Telcos to seek clarity if Huawei, ZTE gear is in list of ‘trusted’ goods

Telcos and network vendors will soon ask the National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) to clarify whether all equipment from Chinese suppliers Huawei and ZTE – without exception – will be outside the list of “trusted” products.
The Department of Telecommunications amended telco permits, mandating them to use network equipment only from “trusted sources” from June 15. The department’s move is seen as India’s first official step to keep both the Chinese companies out of India’s telecom expansion, including 5G technology rollouts.
“Telcos and network vendors are likely to seek clarity from the NCSC on whether Huawei and ZTE will be outside the government’s list of trusted network vendor sources on security grounds or if some non-core network equipment from these Chinese suppliers could be certified and deemed as trusted products for future 4G and 5G network deployment,” a senior industry executive told ET.
The NCSC is the new designated authority that oversees telecom equipment procurements.
Telcos and network vendors will urge the NCSC for the definition of “trusted sources” for network equipment and to provide a road map on how trusted network products would be identified with the associated security parameters.

Indications are that the Cellular Operators Association of India will write to the NCSC seeking an early meeting. The association represents Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea and global network vendors such as Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson.
“Telcos and vendors will seek an emergency meeting with NCSC next week as billions of dollars are at stake and lack of clarity around trusted sources/products could disrupt vital network gear procurements post-June 15,” said a senior executive. DoT officials are likely to attend the meeting.

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