It has been widely reported that Indian operator Tata Teleservices has picked Huawei as a supplier for its 3G network, marking the first contract from the country for a Chinese vendor since the Indian authorities expressed security concerns about equipment from foreign vendors. Huawei will build networks for Tata in five of the nine “circles” for which the company has 3G licences, with Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) having previously been awarded a deal for the other four — Tata’s NSN deal was trumpeted as the first major 3G contract from a private operator in the country. The Huawei agreement includes supporting installation services and the provision of LTE-ready base station equipment.

The deal could mark the start of a raft of contracts from Indian operators, following the 3G licensing process which took place earlier in 2010 and subsequent vendor issues, which are likely to have significantly delayed network builds; Infonetics Research recently said that the delayed rollout of 3G in India had contributed to a slowdown in the global network infrastructure market. It has not been revealed if Huawei and NSN have had to make concessions to secure government approval for the contracts, with Ericsson previously describing the demands made as “overly onerous”. It has also been reported that Tata had been cleared to buy equipment from ZTE, although no announcement appears to have been made to this end; BSNL and Reliance Communications have also been cleared to buy from Chinese suppliers.