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Coronavirus: Telecom operators urge DoT to offer free access to critical sites

Telecom operators have just asked the Department of Telecommunications and TRAI for some changes in view of the coronavirus pandemic. Let’s take a closer look.

  • Published: March 24, 2020 1:03 PM IST
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Global pandemic coronavirus continues to spread at a worrying speed across the world. This has prompted many technology giants to come together to offer easier access to health guidelines, accurate data and more. In addition, most companies have shut down their offices, allowed employees to work from home, canceled events and delayed launches. In addition, video streaming websites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have decreased their streaming quality. The reduced quality will ensure reduced stress on internet infrastructure. Acting along similar lines, telecom operators have just asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and TRAI for some changes. These include important modifications to help customers combat the coronavirus pandemic. Let’s take a closer look.


Coronavirus pushes telecom operators to ask for important changes

According to a report from The Economic Times, telecom operators have suggested free access of critical websites. The operators sent a letter to DoT and TRAI suggesting free access to “all critical websites.” These websites include the ones offering government services, e-commerce, and digital payments. As part of the suggestion, these websites will not be charged under the data allowance during the lockdown. As part of the report, a senior telecom executive issued a statement. He added, “Telcos do not want customers getting charged for accessing necessary sites, including government ones or banking sites until restrictions to prevent Covid-19 are lifted.”

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Director-General for the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Rajan Mathews confirmed that operators sent the letter. However, he stopped short of sharing any details in the letter. This request comes about four years after TRAI stopped the practice of discriminatory pricing on mobile data. However, it provided an exception for services offered in Intranets.

The report also noted that the government is likely to take a call of the request “this week”. It also outlined the benefits that this letter proposes. Taking a closer look, this will primarily benefit prepaid customers in the lower tariff section. This move will also ensure that they can access important websites after exhausting their data limits.

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  • Published Date: March 24, 2020 1:03 PM IST