BSNL cancels 4G tender after DoT directs it not to use Chinese telecom gear

New Delhi, July 1

State-owned BSNL on Wednesday cancelled a multi-crore tender for 4G telecom network upgrade after the government asked the firm not to use any Chinese equipment.

The move comes against the backdrop of a growing clamour against Chinese goods and services after the violent clash at border with China.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) on Wednesday issued a notice for cancellation of the 4G tender.

A source privy to the development told PTI 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.

“Tender for planning, engineering, supply, installation, testing, commissioning and annual maintenance of 4G mobile network in north, east, west and south zones of BSNL and Delhi and Mumbai LSA of MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd) on turnkey basis…issued on March 23, 2020 is hereby cancelled,” BSNL notice said.

The notice for cancellation has been “issued with the approval of competent authority”, it added.

Meanwhile sources said that government had earlier directed BSNL not to use Chinese equipment in 4G upgrade, and implementation of the direction meant that the company has 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.

Nearly a fortnight ago, the telecom department had asked state-owned BSNL and MTNL to shun the use of Chinese telecom equipment in their 4G upgrade, underlining a hardening of stance in the backdrop of tensions at the India-China border.

On June 29, India banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.

The ban, which came in the backdrop of current stand-off along the border in Ladakh with Chinese troops, is also applicable for WeChat and Bigo Live. The list of apps that have been banned also include Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call – Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein.

This marks the largest sweep against the Chinese technology companies.

The Information Technology Ministry statement had cited many complaints received from various sources, including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India”. PTI


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