India delays wireless approvals for Chinese-made devices

Companies have had to delay their product launches in the country as they lack the necessary permissions

India has reportedly delayed approvals for Wi-Fi modules from China as it aims to encourage more products to be manufactured domestically.

This has caused companies like Dell, HP, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and Lenovo to delay product launches in the region, according to Reuters.

The delayed devices include bluetooth speakers, wireless earphones, smartphones, and laptops, two industry sources told the publication.

The Communications Ministry’s Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) Wing has apparently withheld approval for the Wi-Fi modules since last November, with over 80 applications made by US, Chinese, and South Korean firms on hold since then.

"The government's idea is to push companies to manufacture these products in India," one of the sources said to Reuters.

"But tech companies are caught in a difficult situation - making in India would mean big-ticket investments and a long wait for returns, on the other hand, the government-imposed hurdle on imports means a potential loss of revenues."

The government previously allowed companies to declare wireless equipment themselves, but new rules were brought in March 2019 which meant government approval was needed.

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This comes after the Indian government approved permissions for 5G trials to be launched in the country this week. Noticeably, Chinese firm Huawei was excluded from the trials.

A source told Reuters that once 5G deployments start in the country, it's likely that the government will block Huawei’s telecoms equipment from being used.

Moreover, one of India’s telco giants, Reliance Jio Infocomm, will be conducting trials using its own locally sourced technology, while other equipment from European and South Korean manufacturers like Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung will be utilised as well.

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