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DoT gives 5G trials a head start in India, does not include Huawei

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India will allow mobile operators to conduct 5G trials with equipment makers such as Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung’s network unit, the government said on Tuesday, but did not name China’s Huawei among the participants.

Major carriers Reliance, Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, will conduct trials with state-run MTNL in urban, rural and semi-urban areas, the communications ministry said in a statement.

The statement did not mention Huawei and small Chinese rival ZTE among the participating network equipment suppliers.

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Huawei declined to comment, while ZTE and the Indian ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the list of companies involved.

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While India has not designated Chinese players as participating in the six-month trials, which aim to test 5G equipment and technology in different environments, it has not prohibited them from supplying 5G equipment to carriers.

However, two government officials told Reuters in March that New Delhi would likely prevent mobile operators from using Huawei-made telecommunications equipment, in line with procurement rules that are expected to go into effect in June.

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India is the world’s second largest market in terms of number of phone users. Authorities are reluctant to grant new technologies to Chinese companies due to security concerns, government sources have already said, and a desire to help local manufacturers of telecommunications equipment.

The government’s telecommunications department said in March that after June 15, operators could only purchase certain types of equipment from state-approved “reliable sources” and said New Delhi could also create a list. “Without supply” from prohibited suppliers.

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Huawei and ZTE are expected to be on that embargoed list, Reuters reported in March.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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