Government amends licence norms for telcos to ensure equipment procurement from trusted sources
Government amends licence norms for telcos to ensure equipment procurement from trusted sources

In a move aimed at greater scrutiny of equipment being sourced by telcos, the government on Wednesday amended the telecom licence norms by including a clause mandating the use of trusted products in networks.

The telecom department, in a notification, said that with effect from June 15, 2021, the licencee will "only connect trusted products in its network and also seek permission from Designated Authority for upgradation of existing network utilising the telecom equipment not designated as trusted products".

However, the latest directions will not affect the ongoing annual maintenance contracts or updates to existing equipment already inducted in the network as on date of effect, the Department of Telecom (DoT) circular clarified.

The move is aimed at tightening security of communications network, and helping in controlling installation of network gear from China. It would ensure that equipments procured by telecom companies adhere to the guidelines of National Security Directive.

"The government through the designated authority will have the right to impose conditions for procurement of telecom equipment on grounds of defence of India or matters directly or indirectly related thereto, for national security," it said.

The designated authority for this purpose would be National Cyber Security Coordinator, and the licencees will be required to provide "any information as and when sought by the designated authority".

According to the circular, the designated authority will notify the categories of equipment for which the security requirement related to trusted sources, are applicable.

For the said categories of equipment, designated authority will notify the trusted sources along with associated telecom equipment (trusted products), it said.

The designated authority would also notify a list of designated sources from whom no procurement can be done.

"Procedure for inclusion of telecom equipment in the list of trusted sources will be issued by the designated authority," it said.

The telcos will also have to comply with the guidance for enhanced supervision and effective control of telecom networks, in accordance with the guidelines to be issued by the licensor, it said.

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