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Indian government security portal ‘holds up operators’ 5G plans’

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Indian 5G plans are being held up because a government department is not approving new equipment quickly enough, according to reports.

They say India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) is not approving equipment through its Trusted Telecom Portal, launched on 15 June.

The Economic Times, a business newspaper that is part of the Times of India, says senior telecoms executives have complained that the delays are likely to hit 5G plans.

One told the paper: “There is an impact for sure. The government had already given indications that the process would be time consuming, which is why we had placed some advance orders. But things could have been better.”

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) launched the portal in June following a national security directive approved by the government in December 2020.  

All telecoms service providers are “mandatorily required to connect in their networks only those new devices which are designated as ‘trusted products’ from ‘trusted sources’,” says the DoT.

The security rule is not retrospective, so telcos are not being told to replace existing equipment. And they can keep the maintenance contracts that they have with existing suppliers and update existing equipment.

But the DoT says that telcos need to access its Trusted Telecom Portal “and indicate the telecom products and the vendor from whom they intend to procure the products”.

The National Cyber Security Coordinator then assesses the “vendors and the sources of the components to determine Trusted Sources and Trusted Products which are then intimated to the vendor concerned and the applicant [telcos] to make their procurements”.

According to the Economic Times, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the industry’s trade body, held a meeting with its member companies last week over the issue.

COAI director general S P Kochhar told the paper: “We are asking for another meeting with the authority along with our member partners. We had received some assurance during our last meeting on clarifications. We have received some clarifications on the process since then but there hasn’t been any approval.”

When Capacity tried to access the Trusted Telecom Portal we were unable to do so, receiving the message “www.trustedtelecom.gov.in took too long to respond”.

 

 

 

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