The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has published its annual report. It contains a number of complaints about slow decision-making on the part of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).
In the report the following quote, published in a number of Indian news outlets, underlines TRAI’S misgivings about the process: “Over the last few years, TRAI has sent several recommendations to DoT and MIB on important issues concerning growth of telecoms and broadcasting & cable services, but many are still pending decision / implementation…if decisions are not taken in a reasonable time-frame, the recommendations lose their relevance.”
The reason for this argument will be familiar to many in telecoms: the sheer speed of technological change. This, combined with delays, could make TRAI’s recommendations irrelevant. However, even if they are accepted quickly by the DoT they may not be implemented for some years.
This isn’t merely a generalised complaint. The report cites a number of key recommendations issued years ago that are waiting for action from the DoT or the MIB.
India’s Economic Times says recommendations awaiting a response from the DoT include those relating to guidelines for the transfer or merger of telecom licences, how spectrum usage charges are applied in cases of spectrum sharing, traffic management practices, net neutrality and security of data and cloud services.
TRAI’s solution to the delays? A ‘feedback mechanism’ through which the two ministries can share information with TRAI on whether and when the recommendations are being accepted or implemented.
How the DoT feels about this – and whether it will support such proposals – is as yet unknown. However, the pace of change demanding decision-making is hardly likely to slow down as India moves closer to 5G rollout and implementation.