Gokul Blog — A conversation on VoIP, IMS, Cisco and Just about Anything

Deeper analysis of VoIP

Irony : India fights China using the Chinese Model

Posted by tggokul on August 13, 2007

Rumours have been flying around on this for sometime now but has just been made official. DoT ( The Department of Telecom) is planning to setup a Testing and Certification wing which will monitor security compliances to which all telecom operators in India have to comply by. The first rollout of these compliances will be setup as early as early 2009. Whether you are a private or a public operator you would need to pass these security tests to operate in India. This recommendation closely resembles the Chinese model where operators/equipment vendors have to adhere to strict norms. China’s Information Technology Certification Centre enforces these norms.

The government can say this is to prevent “all” hardware/network vendors from accessing their systems through back door channels. But the bottom-line is, it is to prevent the Chinese vendors from doing this. They are not concerned about Alcatels or Cisco’s of the world. They are more worried about the Huaweis of the world which has the Chinese government’s backing. China, a rising power, has a lot of countries nervous  ( including India) and they believe China might use the back-door channels to cripple Communications in case of conflict. The release says

DoT is concerned about the advent of ‘new names’ in the equipment vendor space which are of ‘suspect origin’, but extremely competitive in cost with regard to Telecom tenders.

This is specifically targetted at Huawei. What Huawei typically does is, off loads the network/communication gears to the Telecom provider for literally no cost and has an agreement that the Telecom provider can pay in say 10/20 years. This obviously has caught the attention of the Indian government and the security compliance is just a beginning. I foresee more stringent laws coming.

The compliance would include removing any inbuilt remote diagnostic facility in the equipment. This would be a major blow for Product companies that are planning to build NOCs ( Network Operating Centres) to monitor their products across locations. This  would increase the cost of support, since resources have to be ‘on-site’ throughout.

These extra tests and support would mean more money spent and it remains to be seen who is going to take the brunt. It is very unlikely that the equipment vendors are going to take the hit, and I say this because the equipments are already given to these Telecom vendors at throw away prices. I know of a case where one major networking giant had to give an eighty percent discount on its products to convince one major Telecom provider in India to buy it. So they will not bear the brunt. And we know the Telcos never take the hit ( Is it just me, or are they turning to be the next-gen Oil Companies?). So it might be the end consumer who might be forced to shell out more.

It needs to be seen how badly the consumer will be hit. On the brighter side though, if you are in the Telecom testing space, this is bonanza time 🙂 Interesting times ahead!!!


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