Foreign telecom firms get six-month breather in DoT quality control move
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT)’s proposed arrangement for testing all imported telecom equipment for bugs and malicious malware, which was supposed to start from October 1, will now likely take off in April or later.
DoT-accredited laboratories (labs) will conduct the tests in future before the equipment hits the market. So far, foreign telecom companies have been following a self-certification norm.
While currently there are no global standards to conduct such testing procedures, companies such as Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks, ZTE, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco and Ericsson import their products to India.
“The scanning of devices is not happening any time soon as the labs which are to be accredited for testing, need some upgradation. They should be ready by April,” a senior DoT official told dna on condition of anonymity.
“Today, we accept certified products. From April, we should be able to carry out the audit ourselves,” he added.
According to the official, both government and private labs are planned to be set up in leading metros. “The private labs, however, will be accredited by DoT.”
Domestic testing of equipment is being planned against the backdrop of security concerns. Two years back, the government had banned telecom equipment from China citing national security concerns relating to suspected bugs and malicious malware. That ban had led to trade tensions between the two economic giants.
The government had asked mobile operators not to import any network equipment manufactured by Chinese vendors such as Huawei and ZTE.
The products to be tested include SIM cards, 3G and 4G base stations and mobile phones among 25 telecom products identified by the DoT.
Although the government did not clarify what sort of lab upgradation is required, industry sources said the DoT has inducted IT major Wipro to invest in the labs. But Wipro itself declined comment.
DNA/ Priyanka Sahay