AFTER ASKING state-owned telecom companies BSNL and MTNL to rework their tenders for network upgradation to promote indigenous equipment makers, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is planning to ask private mobile companies to refrain from purchasing gear from Chinese vendors, according to senior government officials.
The move comes two days after the worst flare-up on the Line of Actual Control between Indian and Chinese troops in over five decades which resulted in 20 Indian army personnel being killed.
The government has also asked the public sector telecom companies to not use Chinese vendors in their procurements. This is an extension to the directive by the Centre sent to the companies to last month asking them to rework their tenders for 4G network upgrade in a manner that promoted made-in-India gear in the core network infrastructure.
According to one government official, the move to potentially disallow Chinese gear makers like Huawei and ZTE from selling equipment to Indian telecom companies comes as a result of complaints by Indian equipment firms that China has not allowed a level-playing field for their products to be imported there.
Incidentally, Indian mobile companies have pushed their case for allowing Chinese firms to participate in 5G trials, given that their products were more cost-efficient and that ensuring sufficient competition allowed them to better negotiate with other gear makers, most of which are European.
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