India’s DoT wants private sector to manage its R&D wing

indigenous 5G India C-DOT DoT
Image by polack | Bigstockphoto

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT)  is currently exploring a proposal to rope in private companies to manage its telecom R&D wing, Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), with an aim of making it a global R&D centre and a technological systems integrator.

C-DOT carries out R&D for indigenous design, development and production of telecom technologies, and other technology equipment.

The DoT is currently preparing a proposal which will reduce government ownership of C-DOT to 49% while the private sector will have a 51% ownership, the Financial Express newspaper reported citing various government officials.

Overhauling C-DOT

India is also considering overhauling C-DOT’s corporate structure by forming units such as Technology Transfer and R&D. Bringing in private sector elements also means C-DOT will not be beholden to government regulations for things like salary structure and procurement of raw technology, the report added.

“For C-DOT, hiring and retaining talent in the technology domain forms a key part of its operations. A revamp in the structure and government’s plans to improve C-DOT’s operations will also help the organisation to source top-notch talent for R&D and design,” the report added citing experts.

C-DoT, established in August 1984 as an autonomous unit of DoT, has developed a 4G stack for state-run telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in partnership with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

BSNL’s 4G and 5G services are expected to be rolled out in 2023 and 2024, respectively.

4G/5G stack export plan

This is the same 4G and 5G stack which has reportedly fetched interest from other countries, according to Indian telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who hopes India will emerge as a potential telecom tech exporter to the world, joining the likes of Europe, China and South Korea.

He said that the government may soon start exporting its homegrown 4G/5G stacks after it has been commercially deployed in India.

The DoT has claimed that the stack will also be economical compared to comparable technology from big-name vendors like Ericsson and Nokia.

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