DoT defers deadline for testing telecom equipment again

  • Certification of all telecom equipment will be mandatory from 1 August
  • The industry sees such extensions as temporary fixes since the infrastructure—the number of labs and personnel —is inadequate

New Delhi: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has once again deferred the deadline to begin domestic testing and certification of telecom equipment amid industry concerns on the lack of adequate testing infrastructure in the country.

Certification of all telecom equipment will be mandatory from 1 August, an official government notification dated 12 March said.

The government had earlier planned to locally test parts such as modems, audio-conferencing equipment, fax machines, Wi-Fi access points, and radio and transmission products, including microwaves, from 1 January, and parts such as mobile devices, soft switch, base transceiver station and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices would need to be tested and certified from 1 April.

However, this is not the first time the government has deferred the deadline.

Aiming to beef up security and preparedness against cyberattacks and spying, DoT had earlier said it wanted telecom equipment imported or sold in India to undergo mandatory testing and get certified by local authorised agencies from 1 October 2018.

However, on 27 September, this deadline was extended by three-to-six months for testing some 50 types of equipment.

The industry sees such extensions as temporary fixes as the infrastructure—in terms of the number of labs and personnel —is far from adequate in the second-largest telecom market in the world.

To address industry concerns, DoT had also invited Indian and foreign original equipment makers, importers and dealers, test-lab representatives and industry associations for a meeting on 16 January.

TEC, the authorised public sector unit, has eight labs in the country. It has so far certified only 35 private labs across Delhi, Bengaluru, Gurugram, Chennai, among other cities, to carry out testing and certification—11 of them in the last six months itself.