Indian Telephone Industries (ITI), the central government-operated electronics manufacturing and development company, announced recently that it is in talks with Indian companies Tech Mahindra and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to offer end-to-end infrastructure equipment and services for 4G and 5G network services in India. The move is seemingly targeted at offering a fully made in India stack of equipment and infrastructure for Indian telecom operators to deploy across the country. To achieve this, the public sector undertaking (PSU) firm aims to manufacture equipment for E and V spectrum – deemed essential to offer 4G and 5G network connectivity.
The announcement was made during ITI’s latest annual general meeting, stated a report on the matter by PTI. During the launch of its latest annual report, ITI chairman-managing director, RM Agarwal said, “Our company with its efficient and innovative state-of-art facilities and capabilities for manufacturing telecom equipment plans to manufacture eNodeB and 5G NR (new radio) products in its various plants. With these tie-ups, two streams of solutions for 4G upgradeable 5G can be worked out with ITI being the common manufacturing partner.”
Agarwal further added, “For this, ITI has already entered into a technology collaboration agreement with a Bangalore-based leading start-up company in this area. On similar lines, our company is also planning to tie up for manufacturing of E and V band radios which are very essential with the emerging technologies of 4G and 5G. The partnerships with these Indian companies and the products with Indian IPR not only help to reduce dependency on import of telecom equipment, but also address the concerns in building a strategic network for defence communication.”
Alongside offering equipment for supporting the infrastructure of Indian telecom operators, ITI has also reportedly bagged a major contract with the Ministry of Defence, to build enterprise-grade routers for use in India’s defence services. The PSU recently won the Rs 7,796 crore tender, which was floated for the Phase IV of Army Static Switch Communication Network (ASCON) – a project that aims to establish a highly secured wireless connectivity infrastructure that will help in relaying sensitive information within the Indian defence services.
The move marks a major moment as India looks to pivot away from using network equipment sourced from other nations for its telecom sector and communication services. In a bid to enable this, leading Indian telecom operator Reliance Jio announced a full-stack, built-in-India Jio 5G consumer network. Jio 5G also aims to help India reduce its dependancy on other nations such as China for critical telecom services, and given the steady rise in critical infrastructure-linked cyber threats in recent times, it will be crucial for India to migrate to its own network equipment and services for the communication and internet services sectors.
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