The $4-billion annual telecom equipment market in India is set to get a Department of Telecommunications (DoT)' checkpoint from 2014.
From July, it would be mandatory for all telecom equipment to get a security certification from an authorised and certified lab, where testing would be done to meet Indian and international standards.
The DoT is proposing to set up a Centre for Communication Security Research to automate interception and monitoring as well as set up telecom-equipment testing and security certification centres. The government has already approved spending of Rs 450 crore towards these projects.
A DoT note said: "The security of testing telecom equipment is a new area for which standards need to be finalised. The systems and processes are to be developed and finalised with all stakeholders, like service providers, equipment manufacturers and prospective test labs."
The main centre would be the Telecom Testing Security Certification Centre (TTSC), which might not be able to handle all the testing due to the sheer volume that is expected. Private and public sector labs would also be roped in to test and certify the equipment. "The labs will be accredited by TTSC and accreditation fees will be charged," the DoT said.
Newspaper advertisements would be put seeking expression of interest. Companies that have two or more years of experience in telecom and information technology (IT) in manufacturing, hardware, software development, or testing would be eligible.
Foreign firms would also be allowed to participate, as 100 per cent foreign direct investment is permitted in telecom service and manufacturing. "It will help the country inject new technologies in the area of security testing and these technologies, over time, will be imbibed by Indians also," the department said.
A pilot telecom testing lab already exists at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore to develop test standards, processes and test tools. But it became tough for the institute to get vendors to co-operate and share for details of equipment and such.
It would be better for the DoT to establish the centre while the IISc will operate a small research set up with linkages to it," said a document floated by the department.