India: Make In India To Test & Certify In India: New Rules For Telecom Equipment

India is currently the world's second largest telecommunications market with a subscriber base of 1,206.22 million as of March 20181. India's mobile economy is growing rapidly and currently constitutes more than 98% of all telephone subscriptions.2 During 2007-2018, the telephone subscriber base grew at a CAGR3 of 17.44% and the revenues from the telecom equipment sector are expected to cross US$ 26.38 billion by 20204. Despite the exponential increase in the subscriber base, indigenous telecom equipment manufacturing has not kept pace and the sector continues to be dependent on foreign manufactured telecom equipment. Some factors that support this include the trade policy and the liberal tariff structure on import of telecom equipment in India. Other than the apparent benefits of local manufacturing, the focus on foreign manufactured telecom equipment does give rise to concerns from a security perspective. To boost indigenous manufacturing, the Modi Government had announced Make in India initiative to support indigenous manufacturing and for the telecom has an ambitious plan that every Indian shall have a smartphone by 2019 under its Digital India initiative. Also, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has a policy for providing preference to domestically manufactured telecom products in Government procurement due to security reasons.5 Clearly, these policies are intended to encourage indigenous telecom equipment manufacturing for various reasons including security.

The (Indian) National Telecom Policy, 2012 also recognises that testing and certification of all telecom products are necessary to ensure safe-to-connect and seamless functioning in the existing and future networks. Given all these factors, the Government of India has amended the (Indian) Telegraph Rules (Rules) on 5 September 2017 to provide for mandatory testing and certification of "telegraph"6. They come into effect on 1 October 2018. Expectedly, the move has caused some flutter in the telecom industry as it changes the rules of the game quite significantly, moving from a regime which was largely liberal to one which now imposes additional requirements of testing and certification prior to any sale of telecom equipment in India. That said, the Rules do justify some anguish for stakeholders and one anticipates that some of the concerns are addressed.

The Rules

Briefly, the Rules provide that any telegraph, used or capable of being used with any telegraph, must undergo mandatory testing in respect of certain essential requirements (ERs) and certification by the Telecommunication Engineering Centre, DoT, Ministry of Communications (TEC) before sale of such telegraph in India. The TEC has framed a detailed procedure for mandatory testing and certification of telecom equipment (MT&CTE). A brief analysis of the Rules and MT&CTE are as follows.

  1. Every original equipment manufacturer (Indian and foreign) (OEM) and importer, who wishes to sell or import any telecom equipment in India, must get its telecom equipment mandatorily tested and certified by TEC and mark or affix such equipment with TEC's certification label.
  1. TEC has specified ERs for various telecom equipment, which would need to be met before TEC grants the certification. On the other hand, the DoT is yet to specify the security requirements for equipment. However, concerns have been voiced that ERs specified for certain equipment may not be standard and should be either modified or deleted.
  1. Under the Rules and MT&CTE, the testing can be done either by a TEC designated Indian lab (i.e., CAB7) or any TEC recognized CAB of MRA8 partner country. As at date, only 15 (fifteen) CABs are recognised9 and Singapore is the only recognised MRA partner country.
  1. Clearly, given the size of the industry, the recognised CABs are not enough to support the demand of OEMs/ importers. TEC has thus clarified that it will also accept test reports from any lab accredited by an ILAC10 signatory until 31 March 2019. However, there is lack of clarity on whether this date would be extended if requisite number of labs are not designated by 31 March 2019. The industry perspective has been that such test reports be accepted indefinitely as long as such reports are valid and not only till 31 March 2019. It is out of question that this would be accepted by TEC as any indefinite extension would defeat the very purpose of imposing the above requirements.
  1. In order to simplify the certification process, TEC has clarified that the test reports of any telecom equipment should not be older than 6 (six) months before applying for certification from TEC (under both GCS11 and SCS12). However, there is a strong industry pushback to extend this period to a minimum of 12 (twelve) months. TEC is considering this and would perhaps be willing to extend the timeline.
  1. Basis the test reports and self-declaration of conformity, TEC may certify telecom equipment. The certification is valid for 5 (five) years from the date of issue and can be renewed for another 5 (five) years if there is no change in the ERs.
  1. TEC's certification needs to be obtained only once for 1 (one) model of telecom equipment. In this regard, TEC has also clarified that where equipment with different model numbers are not substantially different from each other in respect of communication modules/interface cards, all such models may be considered belonging to the same family and only 1 (one) of such models (with higher configuration) can be tested and certified.
  1. If there is change in model of telecom equipment due to change in size, shape, colour etc., and such change do not affect compliance with ERs, TEC's certification will require modification without any further testing. However, if there is change in model and such change affect compliance with ERs, fresh testing and certification is required.
  1. The previous regime of TAC13 or IAC14 still exists. In this regard, the equipment for which a valid TAC or IAC has been issued by TEC, only incremental testing will be required for issue of TEC certificate. Such certificate will be valid for remaining period of TAC or IAC.
  1. TEC's certification does not guarantee the quality and reliability of any equipment and every OEM/importer will be responsible for the same.
  1. As a deterrence, TEC has restricted any Indian telecom licensee from using any uncertified telecom equipment in its network and has advised general public to buy/use only certified equipment. TEC also has power to take custody of all the telecom equipment and destroy them in case of contravention of the Rules and/or MT&CTE.
  1. TEC is currently developing an online portal for administration and end-to-end processing of MT&CTE. OEMs/importers can register on this portal, apply for testing and certification and download certificates.

There are some news reports which suggest that the mandatory testing requirements have been extended to 31 March 201915. However, any extension to the commencement date of the Rules would only be possible through an amendment to the Rules by the Government of India and there is no official notification published by the Government which support this. The news reports appear to treat the clarification issued by TEC that it would accept test reports from any ILAC accredited lab until 31 March 2019 (discussed above) as some sort of an extension of the commencement date, which isn't the case.


The Government of India has also recently released a draft National Digital Policy 2018, one of the mission of which is "Secure India" i.e. to ensure sovereignty, safety and security of digital communications in India. The draft policy also states that the Government is aligning with global standards on safety and security for equipment and devices. Clearly, the Government of India has been proactive in its efforts to ensure security and transform India into a global telecommunications manufacturing hub. However, one expects that the Government will be equally proactive in addressing some of the concerns discussed above and continue to make it easier to do business in India.

The contents of this article are intended for information purposes only. The article is not in the nature of a legal opinion or advice. Public reports referred in this article have not been independently verified by us. It may not encompass all possible regulations and circumstances applicable to the subject matter and readers are encouraged to seek legal counsel prior to acting upon any of the information provided. Phoenix Legal neither assumes nor accepts any responsibility for any loss arising to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material contained in this article. This article is the exclusive copyright of Phoenix Legal and may not be circulated, reproduced or otherwise used by the intended recipient without the prior permission of its originator.


1 IBEF Indian Telecommunications Industry Report- June 2018

2 Annual Report 2017-2018, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, Government of India

3 Compounded Annual Growth Rate

4 IBEF Indian Telecommunications Industry Report- June 2018


6 As per Section 3(1AA) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, "telegraph" means any appliance, instrument, material or apparatus used or capable of use for transmission or reception of signs, signals, writing, images, and sounds or intelligence of any nature by wire, visual or other electro-magnetic emissions, Radio waves or Hertzian waves, galvanic, electric or magnetic means.

7 Conformance Assessment Body

8 Mutual Recognition Agreement/ Arrangement

9 List of recognised CABs are available at

10 International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation

11 General Certification Scheme

12 Simplified Certification Scheme

13 Type Approval Certificate

14 Interface Approval Certificate


The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Sign Up
Gain free access to lawyers expertise from more than 250 countries.
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Newsalert
Select Topics
Select Regions
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions