It is expected that the Centre’s decision would make it tougher for Huawei, ZTE and another Chinese companies to supply equipment to Indian telecom players. Both Huwaei and ZTE are facing scrutiny in several countries including the US for allegedly installing ‘backdoor’ or ‘trap door’ vulnerabilities and spying for the Chinese government. Several countries have already banned the use of equipments manufactured by Huawei and ZTE.
“The methodology to designate trusted products will be devised by the designated authority, who is the National Cyber Security Coordinator. Telecom service providers are required to connect new devices which are designated trusted products. The designated authority will make its decision based on approval of a committee headed by the deputy NSA (National Security Advisor),” Telecom and Information Technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Prasad added that the deputy NSA will head the National Security Committee on Telecom, which will also have members from other departments and ministries. According to the minister, the enew Committee will also have independent experts and two members from the telecom industry.
“The cabinet committee on security gives approval for National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector. Under this, in order to maintain integrity of supply chain security, government will declare a list of trusted sources/products for benefit of telecom service providers,” Prasad noted.
The Centre will also provide a list of sources to telecom service providers from whom no product can be procured. The new directive will come into place 180 days after approval.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday also approved the next round of spectrum auction in March. The department of telecommunications (DoT) plans to sell 2,251 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum. It will sell spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz, 2,300MHz, 2,500MHz bands.