The government’s approval is in line with its ban on Chinese technologies, which came into effect after the Indo-Chinese border skirmishes last year.

On July 28th, the Indian government approved a proposal by the Open RAN Forum to create standard security standards for telecommunications equipment based on O-RAN standards. Confirmation was first reported from the Economic Times. Open-RAN is a technology stack for telecommunications operators that is being promoted by governments around the world to either break away from reliance on Chinese technology or to pay high overall prices for proprietary devices for 5G networks.

“As for the position of the Government of India, we welcome the proposal of the O-RAN forum and confirm that it is in line with the commitment made by our leaders of March 12 this year to work together on critical technologies.” ensure that innovation is compatible with a free, open, integrative and resilient Indo-Pacific. ” said Lieutenant General Dr. Rajesh Pant, National Cyber ​​Security Coordinator, during the Quad Open RAN Forum.

Why is it important? The Indian government and Indian tech companies have supported the development of O-RAN, which has emerged as a joint solution to the two problems faced in reshaping the telecommunications landscape for 5G: eliminating reliance on Chinese technology without dramatically increasing the cost of telecommunications companies Soaring – a high priority considering that 5G networks generally rely on a larger number of transmitters of smaller size and range, which drives costs up significantly. Open standards like O-RAN would also help government telecommunications equipment submitted to their “Trusted Telecom” portal, which requires telecommunications companies to obtain government approval for any network equipment they wish to install in the future.

India and 5G

In India, no telecommunications service provider is yet offering 5G services, although cell phones that support the fifth generation of telecommunications technology are arriving in the premium smartphone segments. Airtel, for example, has started full-fledged trials with India Today at at least one location in Mumbai reporting WiFi speed of 850 Mbit / s. These trials come after the Telecommunications Department approved 5G studies at the top three telecom operators plus MTNL in May. 5G spectrum has not yet been sold, and telecom operators have raised concerns about proposed reserve prices for the airwire. At the time, Airtel India CEO and Managing Director Gopal Vittal had said 5G was two years away in India, which meant it wouldn’t become a reality until 2022-23.

Chinese technology ban: Since the Sino-India border skirmishes that began in May 2020, the government has retaliated by restricting Chinese tech companies. This included bans on apps like Bytedance’s TikTok and PUBG Mobile, which were previously published by Tencent. Most importantly, for the 5G rollout in India, the government took steps to ban Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese telecom equipment manufacturers from the Indian market, which eventually culminated in the national telecom security policy that required all telecom operators to provide information Submit vendors and network components on a government website to keep Chinese technology off new telecommunications networks.

Copy of the remarks

What follows is a copy of Pants’ remarks, which has been slightly edited for clarity.

Thank you for having me here and greetings for the day to everyone attending this public event on the Quad Open RAN forum. The first – I am very impressed with the large number of companies that attended this event today. We have heard some very exciting and knowledgeable discussions, including the last one from our government officials; from two of our quad partners so far.

In all aspects, be it technical performance or the CEOs of the industry, and one clear conclusion is that O-RAN will stay here. And all those who had doubts about compatibility and cost issues must allay their fears. And one example that comes to mind is the EMI / EMC standards that today make it possible to connect devices around the world on the basis of accreditation by the accredited laboratories.

If this is possible in EMI / EMC, I am sure that the interoperability aspect can also be dealt with in O-RAN. And the concept of the distribution unit and the central unit makes proprietary interfaces open. And basically it democratizes the networks. In addition, the security aspects in O-RAN are based on the zero trust architecture. And as someone said in a previous webinar, and I quote, he said, “It’s easier to find the cockroaches when the lights are on.”

As for the position of the Government of India, we welcome the O-RAN Forum’s proposal and confirm that it is in line with the commitment made by our Heads of State and Government on March 12th this year to ensure the critical technologies of the future Innovation is compatible with a free, open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific.

Recognizing the importance of secure and reliable telecommunications network infrastructure, we also welcome the opportunity for a discussion between our governments and industry on developing a robust open RAN ecosystem and the benefits it will bring to our economies.

India is accelerating its 5G deployment and is aware of open technologies and global initiatives that have forced the intent to accelerate the delivery of products that support a common, open architecture and standardize interfaces that will serve as the foundation for wireless infrastructure of the next Generation while ensuring a broad community of vendors driven by innovation and open competition. Indian telecom providers such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio are increasingly looking to expand their options for telecom equipment suppliers beyond traditional equipment providers using O-RAN technology.

We also support the establishment of a sustained public-private dialogue on the Open RAN between our governments and industry with the potential for industry and governments across the Indo-Pacific to participate. This dialogue would complement the initiatives being worked on in the Quad Critical and Emerging Technologies Working Group. We recently held two events in India to promote Open-RAN and 5G.

One was on June 17th where we did an Open-RAN India event and a little earlier we had an India Plugfest hosted by Bharti Airtel where demonstrations from ten companies were put together to make O-RAN compliant Open-Fronthaul-Multi-Vendor to showcase collaboration that [unclear] System validation, the O-RAN compliant X2 interface, and use cases for intelligent radio controls compliant with O-RAN 1 and A2 interfaces to optimize network performance that combine machine learning and radio intelligence.

After all, we in the Indian government are absolutely clear that open and virtualized RAN is the future of cellular networks. We have also promoted Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharatas it is called in India, and has also issued a Trusted Telecom Products From Trusted Sources Policy to address the supply chain issue.

In view of our common attributes as political democracies, market economies and pluralistic state societies, the Quad finally offers a strong argument for cooperation in Open-RAN. In this respect, I would like to congratulate the organizers of today’s event and would like to close with two pieces of advice to my industry friends.

Firstly, let’s create a time-bound roadmap at the earliest, a point that was also discussed in the previous panel, and secondly, please make sure that Security by Design is implemented in the various components of Open-RAN so that errors become a thing of the past not repeated. With this in mind, I thank you very much for this honor and wish the event every success. Jai Hind. Thank you.

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