Huawei, ZTE seek permission for access to India’s trusted telecom portal

trusted portal India
Image by Waldemarus | Bigstockphoto

Chinese telecom providers, Huawei and ZTE, have reportedly appointed nodal officers to coordinate with India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC), the designated authority, to determine the inclusion of a vendor as a trusted source of a trusted product.

Both companies have also sought permission for access to the “Trusted Portal”, which was officially launched last week, signalling the coming into effect of the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector (NSDTS). 

NSDTS makes it mandatory for Indian telecom operators to use trusted network equipment from “trusted sources” from June 15.

According to reports, Nokia, Ericsson, Cisco, HFCL and telecom operators had received access to the portal when running in the beta phase.

Industry sources told the Economic Times that India hadn’t banned Huawei and ZTE, and these vendors will have to follow the process to seek approvals for their equipment. 

According to a separate report by Business Standard, the new National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector doesn’t prohibit Huawei and ZTE from participating in the process of selling equipment to Indian telcos.

“Huawei is following the process as mandated by the authority. The partners are doing the same… it will wait and watch how it unfolds and reject anyone. Huawei has not been banned, and they [government] have no intention to do it under the National Security Directive,” a source was quoted as saying by the Economic Times.

Last week, India’s Department of Telecommunications asked Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea to appoint a nodal officer who will interact with the NCSC and be authorised to access the new “Trusted Telecom Portal”.

As per the Indian government, “trusted products” are products whose critical components and the products themselves are sourced from “trusted sources.” Under the new process, the designated authority is seeking detailed information related to active components, place of manufacturing and the equipment player’s ownership structure of the organisation, along with details about the intellectual property rights. 

In a previous circular, the government had said that the Indian telcos would be provided with access to log into the “Trusted Telecom Portal”, where they can indicate the telecom products and the vendor from whom they intend to procure the products. 

“The details of these vendors, the products, their critical components and their sources are then populated into the portal by the TSPs [telecom service providers] and respective vendors who will also be provided access to the portal,” it added.

The NCSC will assess the vendors and the sources of the components to determine trusted Sources and trusted products, which will be then intimated to the vendor concerned and the applicant telecom operator to make their procurements.

The new directive, however, does not mandate the replacement of existing equipment already deployed by telcos. Additionally, the directive will also not affect ongoing Annual Maintenance Contracts (AMC) or updates to existing equipment already deployed in the network. “Hence no disruption to the existing networks will be created due to this Directive,” it said.

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