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Telecom equipment from China to face curbs as govt to prepare list of trusted sources for purchase

Telecom equipment from China to face curbs as govt to prepare list of trusted sources for purchase

New Delhi: Amid the ongoing border standoff in eastern Ladakh, telecom equipment from China may face fresh curbs after the Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a proposal to secure telecom infrastructure by designating a "trusted source" for the purchase of equipment by service providers. The Cabinet also approved the next round of spectrum auction to be held in March in which frequencies of 2,251 megahertz would be sold. However, the government will not put on sale spectrum frequencies that have been identified for 5G services.

Briefing reporters after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Law, Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said a National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector has been framed keeping in mind the national security.

"Considering the need to ensure India's national security, the Cabinet has accorded approval for the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector," Prasad said.

Under the provisions of this directive, the government will declare a list of trusted sources and trusted products for installation in the country's telecom network.

"The methodology to designate trusted products will be devised by the designated authority, the National Cyber Security Coordinator. Telecom service providers are required to connect new devices that are designated trusted products," Prasad said.

The list of the trusted source and product will be decided based on approval of a committee headed by the deputy national security advisor. The government will also create a list of designated sources from whom no procurement can be done.

Prasad also informed that the government will put on auction 2,251 MHz of spectrum in the frequency bands of 700 MHz, 800Mhz, 900 Mhz, 2100 Mhz, 2300 Mhz and 2500 MHz.

"The notice inviting application shall be issued in this month and by auction will be conducted by March," Prasad said.

The Digital Communications Commission in May had approved the spectrum auction plan worth Rs 5.22 lakh crore which included radiowaves for 5G services as well. According to Reliance Jio, spectrum worth Rs 3.92 lakh crore is lying unused with the DoT for auction.

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