The Indian government plans to begin local screening of imported telecoms equipment used in networks and handsets from 1 April 2017.
According to the Economic Times (ET), screening will be conducted in phases to identify the network equipment deemed most vulnerable, taking into account the number of components that go into mobile phone networks.
A senior official from the country’s Department of Telecoms (DoT) told ET plans were in place to leverage labs belonging to a state-agency to undertake the measures, in the interest of national security.
The government’s immediate objective is to ensure screening does not affect supply chains, or disrupt mobile network rollouts or expansions, added another ET source.
The country reportedly deferred the exercise several times over the past three-and-a-half years because it lacked a world-class local clearing house.
DoT further plans to pull in contributions from private sector companies to establish more accredited labs to enable a more comprehensive in-country screening process, as well as develop a local testing ecosystem.
It is thought the exercise would be too complex for one single agency to undertake.
Since 2013, the government told operators to only use network devices that were “certified safe” by an authorised Indian clearing lab, a mandate implemented in accordance with security legislation.
However, global trade bodies in the US and Europe reportedly deplored the decision to perform local security checks on globally certified imported equipment, due to the impact doubling testing would have on supply as well as the increasing cost for consumers.