With the recent border tension with China escalating, clouds of uncertainty hang once again over 5G trials and the fate of Chinese vendors like Huawei and ZTE – whether they would be allowed to participate or not. The government, which had allowed telecom operators to file applications along with the Chinese vendors in January, has now decided that a ministry of home affairs-led committee will take a final call in the matter.
The committee will also have members from the department of telecommunications, Intelligence Bureau (IB) and National Security Council Secretariat.
The matter whether Chinese vendors would be allowed to participate in 5G trials or not was debated at length last year after the US administration hardened its stance against Huawei and went on sending advisories to other nations. Finally, in January the DoT allowed the telecom operators to file applications with the vendors of their choice stating that there’s no ban on any vendor, Chinese or otherwise. However, the matter did not move beyond it.
Meanwhile the companies have filed their applications. Most of the operators have submitted applications with multiple vendors. Reliance Jio, for instance has submitted applications for trials with Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, and Samsung. Similarly, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have submitted with Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE, while state-run BSNL/MTNL have submitted with ZTE and Nokia.