Japan's NTT Advanced Technologies and state-owned Telecommunications Consultants of India Limited (TCIL) have formed a two-year alliance to cooperate in the areas of 5G, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and submarine cable systems, according to media reports.
TCIL will leverage NTT's network and product management expertise through NTT's local partner Virgo Corporation.
Meanwhile, NTT will potentially be the technology provider for 5G networks. There is a possibility that the two organizations will jointly bid for state-owned service provider BSNL's 4G tender.
While domestic firms would be bidding for 57,000 4G sites, there is resistance from BSNL to going for home-grown technology. The tender has already been delayed by more than a year.
Significantly, BSNL already collaborates with NTT on AI, 5G and other technologies.
The Indian government is looking to align with both Japanese and US administrations to gain competence in new technologies, while limiting China's influence in India.
Geopolitical issues between India and China reached their peak in 2020 when forces from both sides clashed at the border.
Also in 2020, India and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together on multi-million-dollar projects to counter their mutual neighbor's growing influence in the telecoms and technology sector.
The two countries are also members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) initiative, which brings together the US, Australia, Japan and India to limit China's reach in the region.
It's been reported that the European Union is also likely to collaborate with India to develop 5G security standards.
Besides NTT Group, NEC is another Japanese technology company with a prominent presence in India. It remains to be seen whether these partnerships provide viable alternatives to the Chinese vendors in the country.
- EU wants to work with India on 5G security standards
- Japan and India join forces over 5G to combat China
— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading