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Airtel Only Engaging With Huawei and ZTE for Maintenance Work


The Indian telcos are following the rules laid down by the government very strictly. This is the reason they are not engaging with the Chinese telecom gear vendors anymore. Huawei and ZTE, two companies which have been the regular technology partners for the Indian telcos for decades, are now being ignored by the telcos due to security concerns.

A source told ET Telecom that Airtel, the second-largest telecom operator in the country, is only engaging with Chinese companies for help with maintenance and replacement orders. But there are no more new contracts on offer for Huawei and ZTE now. This rules the Chinese vendors out of the 5G ecosystem of India.

Vodafone Idea Also Not Working With Chinese Vendors on New Projects Anymore

Ravinder Takkar, CEO of Vodafone Idea (Vi), the third-largest telecom operator, told ET last week that Vi has put its engagement on hold with the Chinese suppliers because of the government policies and issues.

Neither of the Chinese companies has been able to make it to the ‘Trusted Vendors’ list of the government. Rajesh Pant, India’s national cybersecurity coordinator, told the publication that Huawei and ZTE have not yet completed paperwork for meeting the criteria of being a trusted vendor in the country.

The Indian government came down heavily on the Chinese network gear providers once border tensions with China increased in 2020. This has pushed the revenues and growth of European telecom gear vendors, including Ericsson and Nokia in India.

Nokia and Ericsson are going to get a large pie of India’s 5G network equipment orders. Companies such as Samsung are also expected to be a part of India’s 5G ecosystem, but on a relatively lesser scale as compared to Nokia and Ericsson.

Huawei and ZTE have been ousted from many major markets, not just India. Multiple European nations, Canada, the United States, and more have no plans of allowing Huawei and ZTE in their market for now.


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