TSPs now have can only provide their services if the devices they are using have been obtained by trusted sources. In other words, they need the Trusted Telecom Approval from the government.
On 15th June 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 have to obtain Trusted Telecom Approval before providing their services.
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 product. 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 16th December 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 backburner.
However, now that most of India has been opened, the government has refocused its attention towards this law.
The portal of www.trustedtelecom.gov has been designed by CDoT, a research and development wing of the government. However, not only this department was involved in the portal's creation. The joint effort of RailTel, representatives of TSPs, equipment members and the staff of National Security Council Secretriat also contributed in 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:
Right now, the government seems to have no plans 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.
However, all 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.
The National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) is the Designated Authority (DA) that determines whether to include a vendor as a Trusted source, a telecom product as a Trusted product.
To make a decision, the NCSC takes the approval of the National Security Committee of Telecom (NSCT) into account.
NSCT is a body that’s 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 by a source that a government trusts, a decision that is only made after a careful assessment of a vendor and their products. For more updates about this portal, keep an eye on Registrationwala.