The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has granted an extension to the telcos for meeting their minimum network rollout obligations (MRO) till September 30, 2020, invoking the force majeure clause in operator licence rules.

The extension of the compliance deadline has come amid the continued lockdowns been announced by the government to contain the coronavirus outbreak and has offered some respite to the incumbent operators.

The earlier deadline given by the DoT was May 31, 2020, after which the telcos would have had to pay around Rs 500 million per MRO violation as penalty.

The industry stakeholders had, however, requested a six-to-nine months extension in the MRO compliance timelines.

Under the MRO compliance process, telcos need to make submissions to DoT on the meeting of network rollout targets, post allocation of spectrum, in their licenced service areas. The MRO compliance timelines are linked to the specific spectrum band assigned to a telco and the date of allocation of such airwaves.