ZTE Wins Approval To Upgrade Vodafone Idea's Network: Report

The Indian government has reportedly granted permission to Chinese telecom instruments maker ZTE to provide optical transmission equipment to Vodafone Idea (Vi) for a network upgrade project.

What Happened? The approval for Vi’s deal with ZTE came after the Indian telco clarified that it is an expansion and upgradation of its existing network, and not a fresh contract, the Economic Times reported, citing sources.

ZTE and Huawei, both Chinese companies, have submitted additional documents to the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) to be recognised as “trusted sources” for supplying telecom network gear under fresh contracts.

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The upgradation will be done only by ZTE, while the networks in the circles also have equipment from Huawei. This contract is considered to be one of the largest for ZTE since the India-China border clashes in 2020.

To be eligible for fresh telecom network equipment contracts, a supplier needs to be tagged by the NSCS as a “trusted source”, and the gear as a “trusted product”. While Ericsson and Nokia had their applications approved, ZTE and Huawei faced delays amid border tensions.

However, government sources told the business daily that talks of the US easing up on ZTE, has prompted the Chinese companies to submit additional documents as sought by the Indian government.

The ‘trusted source’ tag is given to a company after thorough security checks by over 10 ministries. The government had launched the Trusted Telecom Portal to safeguard networks in the country and ensure operators procure equipment from trusted sources. The directive does not apply to the expansion or upgradation of the existing network, where Huawei and ZTE have been involved in maintenance work for Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

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Posted In: GovernmentRegulationsTechHuaweiVodafone IdeaZTE