TSPs or Telecom Service Providers in India can provide their services only if trusted sources have obtained the devices they are using. In other words, they need the Trusted Telecom Approval from the Government.
On June 15, 2021, the Government of India launched www.trustedtelecom.gov. With the launch of this portal, the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector (NSDTS) has come into effect. As per it, TSPs now must obtain Trusted Telecom Approval before providing their services.
The Trusted Telecom portal contains the list of "Trusted" vendors. A TSP can enter the name of the vendor and the product they want to obtain for their service usage. The portal will then compare the entered details with the list of trusted vendors and products. If there is a match, the TSP can go ahead and obtain the necessary hardware.
The National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector (NSDTS) got approval in the union cabinet on December 16, 2020. The directive was supposed to come into effect 180 days after that approval. However, the surge of the second wave of the COVID19 pandemic put those plans on the back burner.
However, now that most of India have been opened, the Government has refocused its attention on this law.
The portal of Trusted Telecom has been designed by CDT, the government research and development wing. However, not only this department was involved in the portal's creation. The joint effort of RailTel, representatives of TSPs, equipment members, and the National Security Council Secretariat staff, also contributed to the creation of this portal.
Thus, if you're a telecom service provider, you need to check whether or not your telecom devices are from trusted sources before you can use those devices to provide your services.
There are two ways a vendor is added to the trusted list of products and vendors:
At the request of TSP: If the Telephone Service Providers enters vendor details that aren't among the trusted products, the TSP can request the portal to add the vendor and the product to the trusted list. The portal might do so only after thoroughly assessing the vendor and the source.
At the vendor's request: If you're a hardware device vendor suited for the telecommunication industry, you can apply to be added to the list of trusted vendors. Like the TSP, you'll also be given access to the portal. You can use it to log in and file the application to be added to the trusted list.
Right now, the Government seems to have no plA to replace the current list of trusted sources and products. Thus, if you're a TSP who has inducted hardware products into the network that already are from trusted resources, you – at least for now – won't need to worry about NSDTS portal.
However, the future addition of hardware devices to the TSP's network can only be done after it's determined that they are from trusted sources via the portal.
Who decides which vendor and product to add to the list of Trusted telecom in India?
The National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) is the Designated Authority (DA) that determines whether to include a vendor as a Trusted source or a telecom product as a Trusted product.
To make a decision, the NCSC takes the TSP approval of the National Security Committee of Telecom (NSCT) into account.
NSCT is a body headed by the Deputy NSA (National Security Advisor). The committee consists of members of relevant ministries and departments. Additionally, two members of the TSP industry and an independent expert have also been added to this committee.
If you want to stay in business as a telecom service provider, you better purchase your hardware devices only from a trusted source. A trusted source is defined as a source that a government trusts. The TSP must decide only after carefully assessing a vendor and their products. For more updates about this portal, keep an eye on Registrationwala.
Q1. What is NSDTS?
A: The Union Cabinet approved the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector (NSDTS) on December 16 2020, considering the security concerns and for the protection of India's vital national security interests.
Q2. What is the purpose of setting up an NSDTS portal?
A: In order to maintain the integrity of the supply chain security and to discourage insecure equipment in the network, the Government declares a list of 'Trusted Sources/ Trusted Products' for the benefit of the Telecom Service providers.
Q3. When did the NSDTS portal became effective?
A: NSDTS portal became effective six months from the date of its TSP approval. The date of effect was June 15, 2021.
Q4. How do telecom products or sources become trusted?
A: TSPs will provide TTC(Trusted Telecom Cell) information about the Company and the Product that would be deployed in their telecom network. These inputs will be evaluated, and on the basis of the outcome of the evaluation, they will be classified as "Trusted Source / Trusted Product".
Q5. What is TTC?
A: TTC stands for Trusted Telecom Cell and is part of the National Security Council Secretariat. A TTC coordinates all the aspects concerning the implementation of NSDTS.
Q6. How do TSPs provide inputs to A TTC?
A: Input will be provided by TSPs using the Trusted Telecom Portal.
Q7. What are the categories of equipment that are covered under NSDTS?
A: NSDTS covers all equipment under the following:
Q8. What is the format for the Authority Letter for Nodal Officer of TSPs?
A: The format for Authority Letter for Nodal Officer of TSPs is provided on the home page. Once completed, the ink signed Hard Copies need to be sent to the following address:
Trusted Telecom Cell,
Room No 208, Sardar Patel Bhawan,
National Security Council Secretariat,
New Delhi 110 001.