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Indian Economy

Licensing Conditions for Telecom Companies Amended

  • 12 Mar 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has amended licensing conditions for telecom companies. The new norms will be implemented from 15th June 2021.

Key Points

  • New Licensing Conditions:
    • Aim:
      • To include defence and national security as parameters when purchasing ‘trusted telecom products’ and sourcing equipment from ‘trusted telecom equipment sources’.
    • Provisions:
      • Telecom companies can use telecom products only from trusted sources in its network and must take permission from the designated authority (National Cyber Security Coordinator) if they plan to upgrade their existing network using telecom equipment that has not been designated as a trusted product.
      • The new norms will not impact the annual maintenance contracts or upgrades to existing equipment already being used by the telcos in their networks.
  • Trusted Telecom Products/Trusted Telecom Equipment Source:
    • About:
      • It is simply a product, a company, or a technology that has been deemed safe by the government of a nation for use in its crucial and critical infrastructure.
    • Classification:
      • In December 2020, India’s Cabinet Committee on Security had approved the setting up of a new National Security Directive on the telecommunication sector with an intent to classify telecom products and their sources under the ‘trusted’ and ‘non-trusted’ categories.
      • National Cyber Security Coordinator has been made the designated authority for deciding on the list of trusted and non-trusted telecom equipment sources and products.
        • Its decisions will be made based on approval of a committee headed by the deputy National Security Advisor (NSA).
        • Apart from the deputy NSA, the expert committee will have members from other departments and ministries, and independent experts as well as two members from the industry.
  • Impact:
    • The new policy could potentially make it more difficult for Chinese telecom equipment vendors like Huawei and ZTE to supply equipment to Indian telecom players in the future.
      • Both Huawei and ZTE have been under global scrutiny for allegedly installing ‘backdoor’ or ‘trapdoor’ vulnerabilities and spying for the Chinese government and have been banned by several countries.
  • Significance:
    • Telecom equipment plays a vital role in telecom connectivity and data transfer, which has a direct impact on the national security of India therefore this change will help in strengthening national security of India.
    • Demand for local equipment will rise which will further promote the vision of Make-in-India and Atmanirbhar Bharat.


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