The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has written to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) urging for an extension in the timelines for minimum roll-out obligation (MRO) by at least 6 to 9 months, so that relief is afforded to all forthcoming minimum roll-out obligation timelines and not just to those due for testing at this present point in time.

COAI added that the request has been floated as it would be difficult to complete many of the complex activities amid the pandemic.

As per COAI, it would be unfair if the telecom operators were to suffer from any of stipulated penalties for a situation that can at best be described as Force Majeure.

COAI in its letter highlighted that the entire process of MRO is a big challenge in the current environment owing to the strict restrictions imposed by the state governments and various municipal authorities.To further complicate matters, there are delays in import of network equipment which are stuck at various ports across the globe, resulting in critical delays in planned roll out and deployments.

As a result of the difficulties faced and the interdependencies of the various steps involved, there is critical time loss happening from delays in each of these activities and MRO being a time-bound activity with huge penalties for delay, it would be “unfair” if the operators were to suffer from any of these penalties in the current situation, COAI added.