Insufficient number of labs will impact 4G rollouts, 5G network
The requirement to get telecom equipment tested for bugs and security issues will not only impact MNC players like Nokia and Ericsson but also Indian companies like TCS as there are not enough labs for conducting these tests. Industry sources said that this will impact 4G rollouts in addition to further delaying the 5G network.
While global network vendors have to follow the government’s Mandatory Testing and Certification of Telecom Equipment policy, according to industry sources, indigenous players such as TCS, Tech Mahindra and STL will also have to submit their telecom equipment as per MTCTE.
July 1 deadline
The MTCTE regime is set to kick off on July 1, 2022, and top executives in the industry believe that this will not just delay 5G, but rather effectively stall any 4G expansion plans that telcos have. The cause for delay, according to vendors, is that the local lab ecosystem to test the equipment is not ready and will take at least a year to gather technical know how and equipment to conduct these tests.
Any delay will be a big blow for operators who are trying to increase average revenue per user and improve network quality through 4G network expansions.
4G services for BSNL delayed
While indigenous network vendors have remained mostly quiet on the MTCTE issue, they will also have to submit their equipment for mandatory testing. They are silent as most indigenous players looking to venture into the network business do not have any formalised contracts with telcos, therefore they have no urgent need to deploy networks. Except for TCS, most indigenous players do not face a major pressing issue from the regime.
TCS has bagged the BSNL contract to set up their 4G networks so that the PSU can finally provide its customers with the long-delayed 4G services. BSNL has given the company an order worth ₹550 crore to set up 6,000 4G sites. Minister of Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw also noted that BSNL will have live 4G and 5G services by August 15. However, if future 4G expansions are going to be impacted by the MTCTE regime, BSNL’s 4G plans could also be delayed.
TCS chose not to comment when BusinessLine reached out.
Network vendors are asking the government to give the requisite approvals without testing for a year, in order to give the local lab ecosystem the time to develop the expertise to test telecom equipment.