India has laid down strict new telecom security rules, putting the onus on operators to ensure their networks are secure.
Carriers can be fined 500 million rupees ($10.7m) and the value of the network contract for failure to meet the new requirements.
The stringent regulations, issued by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) yesterday in the form of a license amendment, are intended to resolve security fears over the foreign-built networks, and in particular those from Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE.
The DoT says operators, who are “completely and totally responsible for security of their networks,” must conduct a security audit on each deployment of routers, switches, VoIP installation and other network gear.
The rules also have implications for foreign vendors, who manage most of the big Indian mobile networks, insisting that all operation and maintenance must be carried out by Indian nationals within two years.
Network buildouts in India have been frozen since February because of the security concerns. More than 450 contracts worth nearly $3 billion placed with Chinese vendors are waiting to be approved, Economic Timesreports.
Operators are also expected to provide location details of mobile customers within up to 50 meters.
The new rules, which are effective immediately, require operators to outline their security plans to the government within 30 working days.