Thursday, July 29, 2010

Govt Unveils Stiff Rules for Telecom Equipment Imports

(Economic Times)

The government on Wednesday laid down stringent norms for telcos sourcing equipment from foreign manufacturers to address security concerns over gear. Penalties of 100% of the contract value will be imposed on mobile phone operators if any spyware or malware is found in their imported equipment, the Centre announced.

International telecom gear makers keen to do business in India will have to deposit source codes and detailed design of all products and services they sell here into an escrow account in encrypted form. This can be accessed by security agencies and operators in case of an emergency.

The new rules will be incorporated into the licence agreements of all telecom companies with immediate effect. The new norms were issued after security agencies and the home ministry had raised concerns regarding imported telecom gear, especially those sourced from Chinese companies.

Since February 10, the government has not cleared over 450 equipment orders worth close to $3 billion placed with Chinese vendors citing security concerns, slowing down the expansion plans of all operators. The new norms will also enable telcos to place orders for 3G networks following the recent allocation of 3G bandwidth to successful bidders via an auction process. Read more here.