India considering preferential status for home-made technology

Following on from the announcement that acquisition laws could be relaxed, India’s Department of Telecom is reportedly considering further overhauls to the country’s telecoms regulations that would favour equipment manufactured in India.

India’s Department of Telecom is in the process of drafting its New Telecom Policy 2011 act (NTP11), and this policy could potentially be included as part of this - DoT secretary R Chandrashekhar has stated that "broader telecom policy will include measures appropriate to encourage domestic telecom manufacturing.”

The secretary also confirmed that Telecoms minister Kapil Sibal is gauging industry opinion towards the notion of preferential status, and that the views of vendors will be taken into account by the Telecom Commission during the creation of the NTP11 final draft. "A final view will be taken after the consultation process is complete. We expect it to be done by end of March," said Chandrashekhar.

This development comes shortly after a government task force found that the costs associated with imported telecoms equipment were escalating. The DoT branch which administers spectrum, the Wireless Planning Commission, has also ring-fenced specific frequencies to be used exclusively by Indian-developed technology as part of its 2011 National Frequency Allocation Plan.

While preferential status for Indian-made equipment would hardly be welcomed by foreign vendors, they will be able to find solace in the fact that they have not been frozen out of the market entirely. The DoT’s security criteria will allow outsourcing to foreign vendors – previously, there had been suggestions that the regulator would only allow operators to commission Indian vendors for security reasons.

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