BSNL cancels 4G tender after DoT says no to Chinese telecom gear: Source

The source privy to the development said that a new tender will be floated which will have emphasis on preference to Make in India

BSNL 4G, India, China, telecom department, Make In India,
Keeping in view the developing Indian capacity and in-house technology, a new tender will be floated, the source said adding this will have emphasis on preference to Make in India. Photo: Twitter

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s (BSNL) tender for 4G upgrade has been cancelled after the Department of Telecom (DoT) asked the state-run firm not to use Chinese telecom gear, according to a source.

The source privy to the development said that a new tender will be floated which will have emphasis on preference to Make in India.

BSNL Chairman could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts.

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The source said that the government had told BSNL not to use Chinese equipment in 4G upgrade, and that implementation of the direction meant that the company had to issue a new tender.

Keeping in view the developing Indian capacity and in-house technology, a new tender will be floated, the source said adding this will have emphasis on preference to Make in India.

The development comes at a time when Indian and Chinese armies are engaged in a standoff in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok, and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh.

The standoff has stirred anti-China sentiments in India, with protesters and some trade bodies like CAIT calling for a boycott of Chinese products in protest to border standoff.

Sources privy to talks in the Telecom Department said it has been decided that BSNL will be asked not to use Chinese equipment in upgradation to 4G network, which is being supported by its revival package.

The department may also convey that the tender in this regard may need to be reworked.

Related news: BSNL to deploy only India-made products for 4G roll-out: NITI Aayog

A similar message will be conveyed to Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), sources said.

The department is even considering measures to urge private telecom operators to bring down their dependence on Chinese-made telecom equipment.

In the past, there have been concerns around network security of Chinese equipment, sources pointed out.

On Twitter, hashtags like #HindiCheeniByeBye and #BharatVsChina have been trending.

Earlier on Wednesday, Chinese handset maker Oppo cancelled the live stream launch of its flagship 5G smartphone in the country amid protests calling for the boycott of Chinese products in various parts of the country.

Oppo, which ranks among the top five smartphone vendors in India, had said it will live stream the launch of its Find X2 smartphone on Wednesday via YouTube.

However, the live stream was cancelled later on, and the company instead uploaded a pre-recorded video. Notably, four of the five top smartphone brands in India (Xiaomi, Vivo, Realme and Oppo) are from China and accounted for almost 76 per cent share of smartphones shipped in India in the quarter ended March 2020.

South Korea’s Samsung, which ranked third and cornered 15.6 per cent share of shipment in the said quarter, is the only non-Chinese firm in the top five tally.

Related news: Largest mass retirement in India: Half at BSNL, 80% at MTNL opt for VRS

(With inputs from agencies)

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