In a top-level meeting with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), global telecom vendors including Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia have urged the DoT to unveil a production-linked incentive (PLI) policy which will fully offsets the disadvantage of 8-10 per cent local manufacturing cost that vendors are currently facing vis-a-vis Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines and China.

As per the vendors, this is critical for boosting local production and transforming India into a global telecom gear manufacturing hub.

In the meeting that was held with local and global network vendors as well as telcos, both network vendors and telcos coaxed DoT not to ape the just-announced PLI policy for mobile phones as network gear manufacturing is primarily a business-to-business (B2B) scenario with customers limited to just the four major telcos – Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), unlike the handset industry where there are over 1 billion customers. In fact, they reportedly pitched for a separate PLI scheme for network equipment makers, given the virtual absence of a robust local components ecosystem.