TRAI bats for zero imports of telecom equipment by 2022

Following elaborate study and discussions, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued recommendations to promote local telecom equipment manufacturing that is anticipated to drive investment in the space

August 3, 2018

TRAI said that indigenous telecom equipment design, development, and manufacturing should be monitored by the Department of Telecommunications under Ministry of Communications

TRAI added that India should aim to achieve 'net zero imports of telecom equipments' by 2022. For this, Telecom Equipment Manufacturing Council (TEMC), should recommend focus areas

Educational and technical institutes offering specialization in telecom technologies and system design should be set up /identified near the telecom products development clusters

The regulator suggested that Indigenous telecom products should be further classified into Made in India Products, Designed In India Products or Designed and Made in India Products

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on August 3 issued recommendations to promote local telecom equipment manufacturing. The move is anticipated to drive investment in the Indian telecom equipment manufacturing space, which caters primarily to the local market – one of the biggest and fastest growing in the world. Last year, TRAI had issued a consultation paper on the topic with the objective of realistically assessing India’s potential in equipment manufacturing and to recommend the Government on the matter. This was followed by dialogues among the stakeholders in the equipment manufacturing space. The process is expected to enable the Indian telecom equipment manufacturing sector to transition from an import-dependent sector to a global hub of indigenous manufacturing.

Some of TRAI’s recommendations include:

  1. Indigenous telecom equipment design, development, and manufacturing should be monitored by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) under the Ministry of Communications.
  2. India should aim to achieve ‘net zero imports of telecom equipments’ by 2022. For this, Telecom Equipment Manufacturing Council (TEMC), should recommend focus areas.
  3. For promoting innovation, standardisation, design, testing, certification and manufacturing of telecom equipment, Telecom Research and Development Fund (TRDF) should be created.
  4. Apart from the TRDF, with an initial corpus of over US$145 million, Telecom Entrepreneurship Promotion Fund (TEPF) and Telecom Manufacturing Promotion Fund (TMPF) should be set up.
  5. A Telecommunication Equipment Development Board (TEDB) should be constituted under the Telecom Engineering-Centre (TEC) to support design and development of telecom equipment.
  6. Educational and technical institutes offering specialization in telecom technologies and system design should be set up / identified near the telecom products development clusters.
  7. Telecom technology and systems design labs should be setup in these education and technical institutes in collaboration with telecom equipment manufacturers and service providers.
  8. Partnerships between Indian research institutions, telecom service providers and equipment manufacturers and international entities such as IEEE, 3GPP, One M2M should be encouraged.
  9. A common portal should be developed for self declaration of Standard Essential Patents (SEP) by the patent holders in the telecom products, along with facilities to resolve patent disputes.

The agency suggested that Indigenous products should be further classified into Made in India Products, Designed In India Products or Designed and Made in India Products. TRAI also recommended that telecom Service Providers should be incentivized for deploying indigenous telecom products. So far, the majority of India’s telecom equipment requirements have been met through imports, internalisation of this capacity will open up vast opportunities especially since India is currently the world’s second-largest telecommunications market with a subscriber base of 1.20 billion. This market has registered strong growth in the past decade and half on the back of Government of India’s ‘Digital India’ initiative. The nation has sought to achieve its digitisation goal largely through the ‘Make in India’ programme.

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