“While RS [regulatory sandbox] has generated interest among regulators and policymakers in India, it is just one tool among a whole plethora available to the regulator [TRAI],” Bharti Airtel said in its submission to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) consultation on whether there is a need for a regulatory sandbox in the telecom sector. Overall, thirteen submissions have been made to the TRAI on this consultation, of which four are by telecom service providers (TSPs), namely, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea, and Tata Communications. Of these, Jio and Airtel (the two biggest telecom companies in the country) are not in favor of creating a regulatory sandbox. Arguments against the creation of a regulatory sandbox: Airtel: Airtel says that the government already has mechanisms in place that allow for rigorous testing of telecom services before they are deployed. It mentioned that the trial and experimental licenses issued by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT), innovative testbeds in the Centers of Excellence (CoE), and working groups of the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) serve as alternatives to the sandbox. Airtel also highlighted that since a sandbox is a new concept in the Indian telecom sector, it could, “bring with it various unforeseen challenges and associated risks including limited technical capacity and expertise for operating the RS as well as the risk of competitive concerns in the market because of the waiver of certain regulations.” Jio: Jio argued that TSP products and services (those products/services that are developed under the scope of the…
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