Bharti Airtel is calling on the Indian government to lift restrictions on the import of telecom equipment – even from Chinese vendors.
The operator wants the ban on gear from vendors such as Huawei overturned.
In an interview with Reuters, Bharti CEO Sanjay Kapoor said the free flow of equipment was “absolutely paramount...because you need capacity and more equipment to serve so many millions of customers that [Indian] networks are adding.
“We are talking to the government. The industry is talking actually. We are hopeful that we will get some positive traction,” he said.
Government correspondence leaked last month revealed that the DoT was refusing to approve Chinese equipment due to security concerns.
While the regulator later denied it had placed a blanket ban on Chinese telecom gear, it has reserved the right to clear all spending on telecom equipment and has banned at least one operator from importing technology from a Chinese OEM.
Huawei, which made around $1.3 billion from India last year, has reportedly been fighting to have the restrictions overturned.
Kapoor did not comment on whether the government had blocked Bharti from buying any Chinese gear, but Telenor last week said the rules requiring security clearance for equipment had delayed the second phase of its Uninor launch.
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