Fighting means Huawei and ZTE blocked from Indian 4G tenders

India-Chinese fighting means Huawei and ZTE blocked from Indian 4G tenders

03 July 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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India’s two state-owned telcos have blocked tenders from Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE after fighting between the two countries, and the tendering process will be re-started.

The two carriers are Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Limited (MTNL), linked government-owned companies that are in the process of upgrading their networks to 4G.

The move follows this week’s decision by the government of India to ban 59 mobile apps, including TikTok and WeChat after officials labelled them “a danger to the country” – especially as Chinese and Indian soldiers are clashing on a disputed border in the Himalayas. Troops from India and China have clashed in the eastern Ladakh area, part of Kashmir, over which Pakistan also has claims.

The two telcos issued a call to tender for the 4G upgrade in late March, MTNL to develop its services in Mumbai and Delhi, and BSNL for its plans for other parts of the country. The tenders were for 49,000 existing sites and 7,000 new sites.

Now the companies have issued a notice that the invitation to tender from March is cancelled. “A fresh tender is likely to be floated within two weeks after a panel of experts comprising BSNL and Department of Telecom officials submit the report,” say Indian media, adding that the revised invitation is likely to exclude Huawei and ZTE from the process.

Reports say the Indian government is also likely to exclude the two Chinese companies from its planned 5G trial.