Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wipro may set up network gear testing lab

The telecom department (DoT) is likely to ask Wipro to set up a state-of-the-art lab in India to test network gear used by mobile phone companies as it has failed to reach an agreement on the proposed funding model withTech Mahindra, which had earlier evinced an interest to set up such a lab, executives aware of the matter told ET.

Senior executives of Wipro's telecom business unit recently made a presentation to Ram Narain, who heads DoT's security wing, regarding the company's telecom devices testing facility in Bangalore. Wipro officials are learnt to have informed the telecom department that the company tests network equipment and devices for global telecom clients and also explored ways to make the test lab venture "a viable business case".

Wipro is learnt to have also communicated to DoT that the minimum cost of setting up such a test lab would be $50-$100 million ( 275- 550 crore).
DoT wants to hasten the test lab venture, which has been delayed for three years. In fact, it was recently compelled to extend the deadline from April 1 to October 31, 2013, for mobile phone companies who have been mandated to only use telecom gear tested by an authorised lab in India.

The project is a critical piece of DoT's mission to ensure India's telecom networks are free from potential bugs and malicious software that may be used remotely for spying.

Wipro declined to reply to ET's email queries about the meeting with the telecom department or on whether it was looking to invest in a greenfield test lab or planned to refurbish its existing Bangalore facility.

The discussions with Wipro come at a time when the telecom department has proposed a 100-crore allocation during the 12th Plan for establishing a Centre for Telecom

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