The Indian government’s security concerns regarding the telecoms industry have been well publicised in recent weeks, with rumours of a ban on the import of telecoms equipment causing a stir amongst foreign vendors.
However, this ban is looking increasingly unlikely, as Tata Teleservices – one of India’s largest domestic operators – has reportedly selected Chinese telecoms giant Huawei as the supplier for its new 3G network.
Tata holds 3G licences for nine areas - or ‘circles’ - in India; Huawei will construct networks for five of these, while the other four have been awarded to Nokia Siemens Networks. The agreement with Huawei involves supporting installation services as well as supplying LTE-ready base station equipment.
Tata’s deal with NSN was noteworthy in that it was India’s first major 3G contract from a private operator; the Huawei deal is likely to open the floodgates, with a slew of contracts from Indian operators expected to follow.
The licensing process for 3G in India only took place this year, and the subsequent security concerns, among other issues, are likely to have delayed infrastructure rollouts. According to Infonetics Research, the delay of Indian 3G has been a factor in an overall slowdown of the global network infrastructure market.
While it is unconfirmed whether NSN and Huawei have had to make security concessions to attain approval from the Indian government for the contracts, there are reports that Tata has received permission to purchase equipment from Chinese vendor ZTE. Tata’s fellow Indian operators BSNL and Reliance Communications have also been cleared to purchase network equipment from Chinese vendors.