Government to prohibit BSNL from sourcing gear from Huawei for upgradation

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Jun 18, 2020, 02:08 PM(IST)

State-run telco will start its 4G services from January next year Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Story highlights

The government's decision came amid a huge tension at Ladakh, where 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops on Monday evening. This was the first time in nearly five decades that fatalities were reported at the Line of Actual Control, the de facto border with China.

The Indian government has prohibited state owned telecommunication company BSNL from sourcing upgradation gear from Chinese companies including Huawei, marking India's first economic sanction on China after the Glawan valley skirmish.

The telecom department will soon also cancel a 4G telecom equipment tender floated by state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) and rework it to keep out Chinese vendors, the official said.

Once signed off, the order will deal a body blow to the Indian operations of Huawei and ZTE who will thus be barred from the country’s commercial 5G deployments.

Also read: China's claims over Galwan Valley 'exaggerated and untenable': India

Currently, industry estimates peg the annual market for Indian telecom equipment to be around Rs12,000 crore, of which Chinese players account for roughly a fourth. The rest of the market comprises mainly of Sweden’s Ericsson, Finland’s Nokia and Korea’s Samsung. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea work with both Huawei and ZTE, besides the European vendors, while Reliance Jio works with Samsung.

Also read:Five lies by China over border dispute with India busted and countered

The government's decision came amid a huge tension at Ladakh, where 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops on Monday evening. This was the first time in nearly five decades that fatalities were reported at the Line of Actual Control, the de facto border with China.

Earlier, the Telecom Ministry had directed all of the entities under its purview to restrict their purchases to 'Made in India' products.

As per the latest inputs, the Telecom Ministry has asked BSNL, MTNL and other subsidiaries to avoid Chinese equipment in upgradation. In addition, the Ministry has also directed all concerned departments to make the purchase of goods manufactured in India as their topmost priority as part of the Centre's push for "Aatmanirbhar Bharat".

Upgradation of 4G facilities is part of the BSNL's revival package and earlier this year, there was a tug of war between  BSNL employees and the government over the latter's insistence on the use of homegrown firms to boost its Make in India policy. The BSNL employees had pointed out that all its competitors -- Bharati Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Jio -- were using equipment from multinationals.

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