The government on June 15 had launched a portal for giving clearance to trusted products that telecom operators can install in their networks as part of the National Security Directive on the telecommunication sector.
The government has provided login credentials to Chinese network gear firms Huawei and ZTE for accessing the trusted telecom products portal, sources said. Getting access to the portal means that the Chinese firms can submit details about their products and services to the government in case some operator shows interest to buy equipment from them. Once the products are certified as trusted, operators can buy the equipment.
The government on June 15 had launched a portal for giving clearance to trusted products that telecom operators can install in their networks as part of the National Security Directive on the telecommunication sector. Telecom operators have to access the portal and indicate what telecom products they want to procure and from which vendor. Once the government gets the indicative list, the respective vendors would be contacted to submit details of the products on the portal.
Earlier login credentials were not given to Chinese vendors due to security concerns but now officials feel that the portal is very secure and chances of any hacking are negligible. Also, since mobile operators refuse to fill details on behalf of the Chinese firms, the government decided to provide the login details to these firms.
Once the details about products and services are submitted on the portal, the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) will decide whether the products can be termed ‘trusted’ or not. The operators, however, can also seek a waiver from the government, in case they want to use the products from Chinese firms.
But getting access to trusted telecom products portal does not mean that government is going to be lenient on Huawei and ZTE. In fact, extra caution will be taken if some operator indicates interest to buy from them. “If any product from these firms is blacklisted, operators won’t be able to buy that, even if they seek a waiver,” said a source privy to the details.
As part of the security directive, all the details regarding supply chain of components have to be provided and extra due diligence will be done in case of any link to China — be it for components or personnel.
While submitting the details, operators have to provide information relating to vendors from whom they procure as well as details about rollout of networks, their expansion and upgrades every time such things take place. The telecom vendors will also have to submit all details about their company, directors, businesses, and shareholding pattern, etc, to the NSCS.
Apart from that, the telecom operators and vendors also need to provide a certificate that the equipment does not have any malware/backdoors and is free of all known vulnerabilities.