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Coronavirus: Telcos Seek Suspension Of Regulatory Compliance

The telecom carriers have sought the sector regulator to defer mandatory monthly and quarterly filing of reports to at least by six weeks from the deadline in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter dated March 26, to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chairman, seen by ETT, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said to provide our member telecom service providers additional time of at least six weeks, from the due date, to file all monthly and quarterly reports which are due for submission in April 2020.

The Delhi-based group represents incumbents such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea.

The letter comes on the back of a 21-day national lockdown since Tuesday following which the telecom companies have asked most of its headcount to stay indoors and work from home due to the epidemic outbreak.

“Regular day to day operations of telecom service operators have been impacted with minimal staff manning the requirements,” Rajan S Mathews, director-general of COAI in the letter added.

Telcos are required to submit multiple datasheets and reports to Trai as a part of regulatory compliance. These include reporting of their tariff packs as well as inactive or suspended subscribers, as a part of the regulator’s revocation list.

“In the present crisis, there is a significant strain on the human resources of the operators as they are grappling with the operational issues arising from the Covid-19 outbreak on one hand, while also trying to fulfill the licensing compliance on the other hand,” the group said.

The telcos are currently upkeeping networks on a war footing scale with on-field staff.

“It is extremely difficult for our members to submit various monthly and quarterly reports on the due date as per the Trai requirements as most of these reports require circle-wise compilation,” the letter said and added that in the current environment it would not be possible.

Meanwhile, the regulator has suspended all open house discussions (OHD) in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.

OHD allows industry stakeholders and officials to come together to discuss issues that require attention and better policymaking.

In addition, the Trai is also promoting real-time updates on novel Coronavirus and information to prevent community transmission via Centre’s site that also provides quarantine guidelines prevalent across states.

―Gadgets Now

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