TRAI allows testing of new innovations, business models through Regulatory Sandbox

New Delhi, Apr 12 (UNI) In view of new technological developments in the 5G/6G mobile telephony, Machine to Machine Communications, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Virtual Reality, and others, there is a need to provide an environment in which new technologies, services, use cases and business models can be tested in live networks, or existing functions or processes can be refined.

The telecom and broadcast regulator TRAI on Friday released its recommendations on “Encouraging Innovative Technologies, Services, Use Cases, and Business Models through Regulatory Sandbox in Digital Communication Sector”.

Regulatory Sandbox (RS) makes real-time but regulated access to telecom network and customer resources, something that is not possible in conventional methods of lab testing or pilots.

Specific and generic exemptions in regulations, valid only for RS testing, are granted for testing of new ideas. Regulatory bodies in many countries have established such sandbox frameworks. Providing such a framework for live testing in India will encourage more entrepreneurs to develop solutions for the digital communication industry of the country as well as the world, TRAI said.

According to TRAI recommendations, Indian companies or partnership firms, limited liability partnerships or a research institute who have done limited prior testing of their products/services/applications and meet all conditions mentioned in the framework can apply for regulatory sandbox testing.

As the RS testing will be carried out in live networks on certain set of users, the framework has kept the security of networks and protection of customers in mind. Accordingly, it has been provided in the RS framework that the applicants will have to, inter-alia, provide details of regulatory exemptions sought, risk mitigation safeguards proposed, consumer protection mechanism suggested, and a well-defined exit strategy as part of their application.

To ensure accountability on part of Government agencies involved, strict timelines have been provided for completing the application evaluation process.

The regulatory framework includes clear documentation requirements and application, evaluation & approval procedures to ensure transparency throughout the RS process.

Additionally, a detailed reporting mechanism has been defined to monitor the progress and outcomes of regulatory sandbox testing effectively, the TRAI said adding the framework provides that permission granted under the RS will have a validity period of up to 12 months for testing its product.

However, provisions have been incorporated for extending the validity period or to early close/terminate the testing, if so required. An overseeing body has been proposed to monitor and evaluate regulatory sandbox testing so as to keep it on track and take necessary corrective measures, if required, the TRAI said.

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