India’s ascent in telecom equipment manufacturing, solidifying its global supplier status, is underscored by a remarkable 133% surge in exports, soaring from Rs 41,561 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 96,816 crore in 2022-23. Simultaneously, imports rose by 11.67%, reaching Rs 1,34,000 crore during the same period. These figures underscore global acceptance of India’s quality products and highlight domestic market potential.
Against this backdrop, the decision by the Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) to expand the Simplified Certification Scheme (SCS) product list, effective from 1 January 2024, is pivotal for fostering indigenous manufacturing and enhancing the ease of doing business in the sector. TEC, an agency under the Department of Telecommunications, plays a vital role in certifying telecom products and shaping the sector’s future through technological forecasting and envisioning next-gen network elements.
The SCS, tailored for Group A equipment, revolutionises the certification process. Under this scheme, applicants can now submit a test-wise compliance sheet and a Self-Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) for parameters in Essential Requirements (ERs). This departure from the traditional model, where test reports from Conformity Assessment Bodies were mandatory, streamlines and expedites certification.
According to a Ministry of Communication press release, the expansion of the scheme aims to slash the certification timeline from eight weeks to a mere two weeks. This reduction in processing time aligns well with the broader governmental vision of promoting a more agile and responsive business ecosystem.
The addition of 37 products under the SCS spans a broad spectrum, from media gateways and IP security equipment to optical fibre or cable and transmission terminal equipment. This expansion elevates the total number of products covered under the SCS from 12 to 49, offering a more comprehensive scope for businesses seeking certification.
An applaudable facet of this initiative is the revised fee structure, wherein TEC will only charge an administrative fee for ER-based applications submitted under the Mandatory Testing and Certification of Telecom Equipment or MTCTE regime. Notably, the TEC has taken a customer-friendly approach by waiving the evaluation fee, a gesture that has been warmly received by OEMs and applicants alike.
The streamlined process and reduced certification timeline are expected to stimulate innovation by allowing certified products to reach the market faster. This forward-thinking approach not only benefits businesses but also positions India as a more attractive destination for telecom equipment manufacturing and certification.
TEC’s decision to embrace change and simplify the certification process underscores India’s commitment to creating a conducive environment for local manufacturing. As the country navigates the complexities of telecom equipment manufacturing, this move serves as a beacon, guiding towards a future where efficiency, innovation, and business success converge. Additionally, it helps India address the 4% ‘cost disability’ compared to China and Vietnam due to higher manufacturing costs, as highlighted in a recent TRAI report.