Govt amends telecom licences; stiff penalty for security breach

Govt amends telecom licences; stiff penalty for security breach

It also said that a penalty, equivalent to 100 per cent of the contract value, shall be imposed on telecom equipment suppliers in case of detection of any security breach. Operators also face a fine of Rs 50 crore for every purchase of equipment.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) officials said that the information like "source code" (password) and "design details" would be kept in the escrow account in encrypted form and would be used only in case of security emergency.

Most of the telecom vendors, including Ericsson, had opposed to share the "source code" saying it is a proprietary information and cannot be kept in an escrow account.
DoT asserted that this has been done for all vendors and is not limited to vendors from China.

Two telecom operators' association COAI and AUSPI did not offer any immediate comments and said they will react only after studying the amendments in detail.Main telecom vendors are Ericsson, Nokia-Siemens, Alcatel Lucent and Chinese players like Huawei and ZTE among others.

The DoT has sent the amended licence agreement to all the operators for their consent.
The DoT is also understood to have included a clause which mandates that Indian engineers operate and maintain the networks of telecom service providers.The amendment comes in the wake of concerns being raised by the security agencies regarding the core telecom equipment imported from China.

Now, telecom operators would be able to import equipment, which were on hault for last more than six months as the players were not able to procure security clearance from the government.