Centre asks BSNL to not use Chinese equipment for 4G upgradation

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Department of Telecom (DoT) has asked state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to not use Chinese telecom equipment during its 4G upgradation. This was after the border skirmish with Chinese troops at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Sources privy to the information said the Telecom Department has conveyed that the tender process in this regard will have be reworked.

Also, a similar message has been conveyed to Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) asking them to avoid the use of Chinese equiment for upgradation.

It is further being said India may re-think its information and communications technology (ICT) strategy for 5G rollout in the country with Chinese companies ZTE and Huawei.

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

The instruction issued by Telecom Department:
* Upgradation of 4G facility should not be done using any equipment made by Chinese companies.
* The entire tender process is to be re-issued.
* All private service operators will also be instructed to reduce their dependence on Chinese equipment
* According to government sources, there have been several concerns around network security of Chinese equipment in the past.

The development comes at a time when Indian and Chinese armies engaged in a faceoff at Galwan Valley in Ladakh on Monday. Atleast 20 Indian soldiers martyred in the clashes while a similar number of Chinese soldiers too were reportedly killed.

Meanwhile, Chinese handset maker Oppo had to cancel the livestream launch of its flagship 5G smartphone in India amid protests calls to boycott Chinese products.

Notably, four of the five top smartphone brands in India (Xiaomi, Vivo, Realme and Oppo) are from China and account for almost 76 per cent of the smartphone share in India.