BSNL ordered to check Huawei gear for backdoors: report

BSNL has been told by India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that it must test Huawei equipment for backdoors and malware before deploying it in its mobile network.

BSNL is also forbidden from deploying Huawei gear in India’s northern states, adjacent to sensitive borders with China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, the Economic Times reported.

Security fears have threatened to derail Huawei’s bid for one of the biggest mobile equipment deals of the year.

The Chinese vendor has been shortlisted with Ericsson to share $6 billion in GSM expansion contracts from BSNL.

The Economic Times said that a government security committee had given BSNL the all-clear to award contracts to Huawei, but only if it vetted the network for vulnerabilities.

Vendors routinely provide legitimate backdoors into networks to enable remote diagnostics, but BSNL has been told this is off-limits for Huawei.

The DoT has also told BSNL that it Huawei must complete all network and maintenance contracts within two years.

The restrictions, if confirmed, could seriously constrain Huawei’s growth in one of the world’s biggest markets.  The red tape could deter operators seeking to roll out  quickly, while the rules appear to put Huawei’s access to the network outsourcing business out of reach.

Huawei yesterday denied a report that it had been awarded the contract. “Huawei has not received formal notification from BSNL,” the company told TelecomAsia.net.
 

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