India is reportedly working toward phasing out equipment form Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese companies amid growing tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Although there is a no formal ban on using telecom equipment from these Chinese companies, the Indian government has asked domestic telecom players to gradually sever ties with Chinese companies.
Relationship between India and China hit rock bottom following a faceoff between the soldiers of the two countries at the Galwan Valley couple of months back. Since then India has taken a stricter stance against it neighbor and has banned more than 50 China-made apps. Eliminating Huawei and ZTE from India at the same time could be a blessing in disguise for domestic players like Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea.
Final Days for Huawei, ZTE in India?
It could be the end of the journey for Huawei and ZTE in India as they are expected to be locked out of the country's 5G rollout plans, according to a Financial Times report. The Indian government hasn't officially banned these companies but has been advising domestic telecom players to avoid using Chinese equipment in future investments, including 5G networks.
The report also cites that India may not formally impose a ban on these companies as that might provoke a tough retaliatory stance from China. Instead, it would prefer going for a systematic phase out of these Chinese telecom giants.
If Huawei and ZTE are finally shown the door, India will join a growing list of countries including the United States, UK and Australia that have banned Huawei from providing 5G technology to their respective wireless networks over security concerns.
Huawei, Others Face the Heat
Huawei has been in the center of the controversy following accusations from the United States and several European and Asian countries that Huawei has been spying for the Chinese government. In fact, in late June, Singapore chose Europe's Nokia and Ericsson over Huawei to develop the city-state's main 5G network. However, Huawei has repeatedly denied it poses a security risk.
The news of the potential ban comes amid growing anti-China sentiments in India following the deadly clash along the LAC in Galwan Valley in Ladakh on June 25 in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. India since then has banned 58 Chinese apps including ByteDance-owned TikTok from operating in the country.
The government's decision to phase out Huawei and ZTE from its 5G plans at the same time could be a blessing in disguise for many domestic as well as European telecom companies. One of the major beneficiaries could be Samsung, which is the world's fourth-largest 5G equipment maker behind Huawei, Ericsson of Sweden and Nokia. Besides, domestic players like Reliance Industries' Jio could also benefit from the potential ban of Huawei as it recently claimed that it is 5G ready. Also, Reliance is expected to provide equipment at lot cheaper rate than its other domestic and international rivals.