Spectrum Regulatory Sandbox to Streamline Equipment Testing

The government has released guidelines for spectrum regulatory sandbox or wireless test zones to streamline equipment testing. The same is said to be part of the millennium spectrum regulatory sandbox initiative.

The said initiative envisages a simplified framework for facilitating research and development (R&D) activities, promoting the exploration of spectrum bands, and driving technological advancements. The wireless test zones have been categorised into urban or remote areas for experimentation across various frequency bands, with eligibility extending to academia, R&D labs, telecom providers, and others.

Section 27 of the Telecommunications Act, 2023, which was passed in December 2023, empowers the Central Government to create regulatory sandboxes to pave the way for innovation and technological development in telecommunication. Here, regulatory sandboxes mean live testing environments where new products or services, etc. can be launched on a limited set of users, for a certain duration. The same will involve relaxations from the provisions of the 2023 Act, which albeit have not come into force yet.

Speaking of portal-based permissions, the Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and Information Technology, Shri. Ashwini Vaishnaw gave an example and stated that if a college designed equipment requiring a spectrum for testing, it can directly apply through the centralised portal and make payment of the applicable token amount (INR 1,000) after which permission would be granted for testing. In this manner, the need to approach the Department of Telecommunications for a license would be done away with.


Date: March 12, 2024