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TRAI Releases Recommendations on Regulatory Sandbox Framework for Digital Communication Sector

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has unveiled its recommendations on “Encouraging Innovative Technologies, Services, Use Cases, and Business Models through Regulatory Sandbox in the Digital Communication Sector” on April 10, 2024. This landmark release aims to facilitate the testing and development of cutting-edge technologies amidst the evolving landscape of digital communication, including advancements in 5G/6G, Machine to Machine Communications, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Virtual Reality.

Recognizing the need for a conducive environment to foster innovation and refine existing processes, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) initiated the process by requesting TRAI’s recommendations for a regulatory sandbox framework on March 10, 2023. Subsequently, TRAI published a Consultation Paper (CP) on June 19, 2023, inviting feedback from stakeholders, leading to the formulation of comprehensive recommendations.

The Regulatory Sandbox (RS) framework enables live testing of new products, services, processes, and business models under regulated conditions, granting specific exemptions from existing regulations for testing purposes. Such sandbox frameworks have been established by regulatory bodies worldwide, and their introduction in India is expected to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital communication sector.

The recommendations, in alignment with the Telecommunication Act’ 2023, define the scope, objectives, and operational procedures of the RS framework. Key components include eligibility criteria for participation, application and evaluation procedures, regulatory exemptions, consumer protection mechanisms, and a well-defined exit strategy for participants. The framework emphasizes transparency, accountability, and security, with stringent documentation requirements and evaluation timelines.

Indian entities, including companies, partnership firms, limited liability partnerships, or research institutes, meeting the stipulated criteria, are eligible to apply for regulatory sandbox testing. To safeguard network security and consumer interests, applicants must outline risk mitigation measures, consumer protection mechanisms, and an exit strategy in their applications.

Moreover, the framework acknowledges the potential socio-economic impact of innovative solutions and recommends financial support under the Digital Bharat Nidhi for deserving innovations that bridge the digital divide and benefit underprivileged sections of society.

The recommended RS framework is poised to revolutionize the startup ecosystem in the digital communication sector by providing access to real network environments for testing new applications. Additionally, it encourages cross-sector collaboration to harness the collective efforts of innovators, startups, telecommunications companies, government agencies, and regulators.

The recommendations are available for public access on TRAI’s website (, and stakeholders seeking further information or clarification can contact Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, Advisor (Broadband and Policy Analysis), TRAI, at Tel. No. +91-11-23236119.

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