December 1, 2022
DoT asks BSNL, MTNL to stop using Chinese equipment in 4G upgrade

Sources said the DoT wants state-owned BSNL and MTNL to refrain from using Chinese telecom equipment in their 4G upgrades, underlining a tough stand in the backdrop of tensions along the India-China border.

Huawei and ZTE are among the Chinese-origin telecom equipment makers doing business in the Indian market.

A source close to the DoT’s position on the matter said this may prompt private telecom companies to gradually reduce their dependence on Chinese equipment. However, the mobile operators said that they are not aware of any formal order being passed on the issue so far.

Meanwhile, it is learned that the government has decided to ask Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) not to use Chinese telecom gear in their 4G upgradation, which has been included in their revival package. being supported as part of An official order in this regard is yet to be issued.

An industry source said Huawei has not bid for BSNL tenders for almost five years due to payment issues, but any formal government order could impact its business and future prospects as the Chinese major The equipment is used by private telecommunications companies in some existing networks.

The impact of 5G testing and future mega 5G networks is one of the areas that will be addressed.

On 5G trials, an industry expert said that Huawei may not have a near-term commercial impact, given that the trials have been conducted due to operators’ financial woes and the coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese firm may have long-term business prospects. In case of any sweeping restrictions are definitely covered under the cloud.

Earlier this year, private telecom operators submitted applications for 5G trials.
Airtel and Vodafone Idea have partnered with several vendors including Huawei for 5G trials.

Huawei has invested $2 billion (about Rs 15,245 crore) in India, a market where it has about 6,000 employees, 96 percent of whom are local.

When contacted, a Huawei India spokesperson declined to comment on the issue. There has also been no official statement from BSNL on this matter.

Meanwhile, industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) on Thursday said geo-political issues are under the purview of the government and should be kept out of corporate decisions.

COAI – whose members include private telcos like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea – further said that till now, the government had not made it mandatory to exclude any vendor’s equipment from the private operator network.

When the government makes laws, companies are “obligated” to follow them, it said.
COAI Director General Rajan Mathews said, “Geopolitical issues are the origin of the government and such decisions are separate and ideally should be kept separate from commercial decisions, which are the origin of companies.”

As such, companies are motivated to act in the interest of their customers and other stakeholders, he said.
At a time when Indian and Chinese armies are engaged in a standoff at Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldi in eastern Ladakh.

20 Indian Army personnel were killed in a violent scuffle with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley on Monday – the biggest confrontation between the two sides in nearly five decades.

The standoff has fueled anti-China sentiments in India, with protesters and some trading bodies such as the Confederation of All India Traders calling for a boycott of Chinese products.


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