Huawei and ZTE have appointed respective nodal officers to coordinate with telecom operators and the office of the National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) to share details about telecom equipment that telecom operators may agree to buy from it, industry sources said, adding that they are following the process to seek approval.
Both Chinese telecom gear makers are also seeking access to the Indian government’s ‘Trusted Portal’ which went live last week. Nokia, Ericsson, Cisco, HFCL and telecom operators had received access to the portal during the beta phase. However, sources said that many other domestic and multinational companies are yet to receive the access.
“Huawei is following the process as mandated by the authority. The partners are doing the same. it will wait and watch how it unfolds and if they reject anyone. Huawei has not been banned and they [government] have no intention to do it under the National Security Directive,” a source familiar with the matter said.
The person said that and ZTE and Huawei’s nodal officers are working closely with its telco partners’ nodal officers to seek approval through the trusted portal. “OEMs are doing it themselves and through their partners.”
Huawei and ZTE spokespersons didn’t respond to ET’s queries.
The telecom department last week asked all licensees to appoint a nodal officer who will be authorised to access the new “Trusted Telecom Portal”, provide inputs, and coordinate with the National Cyber Security Coordinator.
“Those licensees who have not submitted Authorization letter for appointing a Nodal Officer for this portal are requested to submit the same to the Designated Authority i.e. National Cyber Security Coordinator on immediate basis,” the DoT said in a notification on Wednesday.
The department had issued amendments in Telecom Licenses for procurement or use of telecom equipment from trusted sources in March.
A ‘trusted telecom’ portal was launched on Tuesday last week under the Cyber wing of the National Security Council Secretariat which will mandate telecom service providers to use equipment through trusted or authentic sources only.
The new portal would act as a certifying window and gear suppliers empanelled with the authority could track the progress of approval of their applications.
Under the new process, vendors or original equipment makers (OEMs) will have to provide detailed active components that go into the gear along with the place of manufacturing and the company’s headquarters, ownership structure of the organisation and details about the intellectual property rights. Additionally, they have to provide similar information about software that powers the equipment.
The list of equipment to be covered under this directive and methodology to designate a specific product as a trusted, would however be defined by the office of the National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) Lt Gen (Rtd) Rajesh Pant who reports to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Through this initiative, the government aims to bring enhanced supervision and facilitate effective control by telcos and designated authority over nationwide telecom networks. “From among the sources declared as ‘trusted sources’ by the designated authority, those that meet the criteria of the Department of Telecommunications’ preferential market scheme will be certified as Indian trusted sources,” as per the directive