India considers banning Huawei and ZTE from mobile networks?

India is considering a ban on the use of telecom network supplied by China-based Huawei and ZTE.
Huawei and ZTE
Telecom operators in the United States have already removed telecom network from Huawei and ZTE due to concerns about security.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is set to ask state-owned BSNL not to use telecom network in its 4G upgradation, PTI reported.

Recently, Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal was in favour of buying equipment from Huawei due to its superior network quality and price. Airtel is currently the third largest mobile operator in India in terms of mobile phone subscribers.

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read recently said the world’s second largest telecom operator will be under financial pressure if it is forced to remove Huawei from its mobile network. UK, where Vodafone is headquartered, is evaluating the removal of Huawei from the mobile network of operators due to security concerns.

The development in India will be a big blow on the business of Huawei Technologies and ZTE, two telecom network suppliers based in China. Huawei is the largest telecom network supplier based on its revenue.

The development comes at a time when Indian and Chinese armies are engaged in a standoff in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh, the report said.

The standoff has stirred anti-China sentiments in India, with protesters and some trade bodies like CAIT calling for a boycott of Chinese products in protest to border standoff.

Sources privy to talks in the Telecom Department said it has been decided that BSNL will be asked not to use Chinese equipment in upgradation to 4G network, which is being supported by its revival package.

The department may also convey that the tender in this regard may need to be reworked. A similar message will be conveyed to MTNL, another state-run telecom operator with presence in Delhi and Mumbai.

The department is considering measures to urge private telecom operators to bring down their dependence on Chinese-made telecom equipment.

In the past, there have been concerns around network security of Chinese equipment, sources pointed out.