The Centre on Wednesday said it would give preferential treatment to Indian telecom equipment manufacturers in the New Telecom Policy, now being framed, as import bill of telecom equipment was rising rapidly due to high growth of the telecom sector.

“Import and indigenous production of telecom equipment have increased in the last few years. We have all access, expertise and all the raw material...so there is no reason that we cannot compete with the foreign vendors as far as quality of telecom equipment is concerned,” Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot said in the Lok Sabha.

The industry imported telecom equipment worth Rs.36,256 crore in 2007-08, Rs.46,809 crore in 2008-09 and Rs.42,444 crore in 2009-10, while indigenous production of telecom equipment stood at Rs.51,000 crore in 2009-10.

Fierce competition

Notably, the domestic mobile subscriber base is touching 80 crore, while over 1.50 crore subscribers are being added every month.

Reeling under fierce competition from their foreign counterparts, particularly Chinese companies, India telecom equipment manufacturers are asking the government to give preferential treatment of indigenous players. Domestic vendors have also been asking for reserving unused frequencies (spectrum band) for indigenous production.

Mr. Pilot said the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had also floated a consultation paper last year seeking views of stakeholders and the industry on how to promote telecom equipment manufacturing in India. “We will take all steps to promote Indian telecom vendors,” he said.