India ‘to impose equipment tests’ in 2017

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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All telecoms equipment and software imported into India from 1 April 2017 will face strict government security tests, according to reports

Equipment, handset and software vendors face steep charges to sell their products in India from April 2017.

The Indian government plans to insist that all equipment is tested locally if it is to be sold for use on the country’s networks after 1 April.

The usually well-informed Economic Times is reporting that everything must be tested by a lab approved by the government’s Standardisation Testing & Quality Certification (STQC) agency.

New labs approved by the agency will be expensive, says the newspaper, which quotes an unnamed industry expert as saying: “Minimum investment in a world-class testing lab would be nearly $200 million and the government is yet to come up with a workable funding arrangement.”

The Indian government originally planned to introduce the rule in 2013, but deferred it because of complaints. Now, however, says the Economic Times, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is determined to enforce testing in 2017 because of perceived security threats.

The rule will apply to “core network systems, base stations, mobile switching centres, network management and billing systems and transmission devices”, sources told the Economic Times, which says that feature phones and smartphones will be included.

Then newspaper says that the DoT plans to involve private sector companies in the testing regime. “The exercise is too complex and cumbersome for a single agency to undertake, given that India imports nearly $9 billion of telecom devices annually.”