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The central government has unveiled the ‘Spectrum Regulatory Sandbox,’ which will provide a hassle-free regulatory environment for telecom research and development (R&D).

Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister for Telecom and IT, stated that the sandbox will allow engineering colleges to test telecom equipment easily through a portal. “Universities can pay a token amount of INR 1000 to get testing spectrum,” the minister added.

According to the union minister, the regulatory sandbox is based on this reasoning. Applicants can easily apply through the centralized Saral Sanchar Portal, which expedites permissions. He urged the telecom operators to embrace the initiative, stating, “Ultimately, this is going to be your talent pipeline. These are the kids who are going to work with your solutions.”

The telecom department has also abolished the Wireless Operating License (WOL) requirement for licensees under Section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. As a result, separate WOL is not required for the establishment, maintenance, or operation of telecommunications, including radio equipment.

“The launch of regulatory sandbox and the abolishing of Wireless Operating License are just a few reforms which can unleash telecom’s potential. We hope we will have many reforms to come. The government will also have a light-touch approach so that the sector grows on its own,” said Neeraj Mittal, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, noting that the telecom sector contributes nearly 10% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Unleashing Telecom’s Potential

A regulatory sandbox provides a controlled environment where companies can test innovative products, services, and business models under the supervision of regulators. By participating in a sandbox, telecom companies can experiment with new technologies and approaches without the fear of regulatory repercussions. This fosters innovation within the industry by allowing companies to explore novel solutions to existing challenges, such as improving network infrastructure, enhancing service offerings, or deploying emerging technologies like 5G and IoT.

Abolishing the Wireless Operating License simplifies regulatory processes for telecom operators, fostering market entry and competition. This reform reduces barriers to entry for new players, stimulating innovation and driving down prices while improving service quality. It encourages telecom operators to invest in expanding network coverage and deploying advanced technologies, particularly in underserved areas, thereby promoting economic growth and job creation. Additionally, streamlining regulatory processes enhances efficiency, allowing resources to be redirected towards productive activities like network deployment and service innovation, ultimately ensuring compliance with consumer protection and competition laws.

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