Trusted source norm: Telcos to urge govt to give time till December 2021 to submit details

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Updated: June 03, 2021 10:36 PM

Due to the lockdowns across the country in the wake of Covid-19, the telcos need some more time to submit the details. According to industry sources, the telcos are expected to seek an extension till December 2021 to implement the directive.

Filling the gaps in infrastructure and access will require large investments and competition. The exit of Vodaphone Idea will hurt both objectives.

The telecom operators are soon going to approach the government seeking an extension to implement the directive on using equipment from trusted sources.

The directive, which comes into effect on June 15, mandates the telcos to procure equipment from only trusted sources while the operators also have to submit all the details regarding their networks – core equipment, access equipment, transport equipment and support systems – to the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS).

Due to the lockdowns across the country in the wake of Covid-19, the telcos need some more time to submit the details. According to industry sources, the telcos are expected to seek an extension till December 2021 to implement the directive.

The department of telecommunications (DoT) had already amended the telecom licence of the operators to make it mandatory for them to procure equipment from only trusted sources from June 15, the list of which would be made known by the government. This directive is aimed at preventing telcos from buying telecom gear from Chinese vendors such as Huawei and ZTE, though the government has not explicitly said so. If any operator wants to procure equipment from non-trusted sources, it would need to take the government’s permission. The annual maintenance contract for existing networks has been exempted from the trusted source norm.

As reported by FE earlier, the government has decided to seek all the details and flow chart of telecom networks in the country. The information has to include every detail about the 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.

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