Caroline Gabriel, Rethink Wireless
11 Aug 2010
The major wireless equipment vendors have voiced mixed responses to India's new rules on security checks for suppliers of key systems.
The Chinese giants, ZTE and Huawei, which have come under the heaviest scrutiny from the Department of Telecom, seem ready to comply with new regulations, but Ericsson is denouncing the safeguards as "unjustly onerous."
Major procurements of 2G kit, and the forthcoming 3G tenders, have been delayed by the DoT's attempts to ensure that suppliers cannot access sensitive information or threaten national security.
Earlier this year, the heat was on Chinese suppliers, with some politicians calling for a blanket ban. More recently, the aim has been to devise a set of rules that would apply to all vendors. The operators have become increasingly restive at the uncertainty, which makes it difficult for them to select equipment, and at possible limitations on their freedom to choose the most cost effective systems.
Two weeks ago, the government made its biggest step so far to come up with standardized guidelines, but they are tougher than those of many other countries - many more mature telecoms economies faced these issues a decade ago.
It has already implemented a rigorous set of checks before purchases can be approved, but these should become more consistent.