MORE THAN 50 per cent of mobile network equipment used by state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) comes from two Chinese companies, namely Huawei and ZTE, while 10 per cent of the mobile network equipment used by Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) is supplied by Chinese vendors, the government informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
“Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), has 44.4 per cent of its mobile network equipment from ZTE and 9.0 per cent from Huawei. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), has 10 per cent of its mobile network equipment from Chinese equipment manufacturers,” Minister of State for Communications Sanjay Dhotre said in his reply.
State-run BSNL and MTNL only have 2G and 3G networks as of date. After a border skirmish with Chinese soldiers in the Galwan valley region of Ladakh, which killed 20 Indian soldiers, the government moved to cancel the participation of Chinese companies from tenders and projects in India.
As part of the same strategy, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had on June 17 asked both the state-run telcos to cancel their tender for the roll-out of 4G. A reworked tender, to be floated later, was likely to contain provisions spelling out the ban on Chinese telecom gear vendors. The tender, however, has not been floated till date.
Among the private telcos, while Reliance Jio Infocomm has not deployed “any telecom equipment from ZTE and Huawei in its network”, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) follow a “multi-vendor” strategy which includes procuring equipment from Chinese vendors as well, Dhotre said in his reply to the Rajya Sabha.
Though the government has not banned telecom service providers from purchasing gears from Chinese telecom equipment vendors, it has in place “comprehensive security conditions” for such vendors as part of their licensing norms, Dhotre said in his reply.
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