Indian telecom operators have requested a one-year extension to implement e-waste rules, as per the latest information.

Indian Telecom Operators Seek Extension to Implement E-Waste Rules

In order to address the various demands of urban and rural contexts, telecom operators have discovered that network deployment is a capital-intensive process with short technological cycles. As a result, operators must continuously design, calibrate, and update their networks. According to COAI, there are more than 7.5 lakh telecom towers in the nation, and close to 10 million clients are served by end-user equipment.


  • Indian telecom companies have asked for an extra year to execute the new e-waste regulations, which are set to take effect on April 1, 2022.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MOEFCC) announced the regulations in November 2021.
  • This is the first time that telecom operators’ electronic equipment has been covered by the e-waste regulations.

The e-waste regulation took effect on April 1, 2022, but Indian telecom companies have asked for a one-year delay to execute it. The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change (MOEFCC) announced the law in November 2021, and it is the first time telecom operators’ usage of electronic equipment has been included by the e-waste legislation.

According to a recent ET report, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the industry’s nodal ministry, and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) should have been formally consulted during the development of the rules to understand the impact on business and national network operations. The COAI represents India’s three private operators, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea.

According to the telcos, network deployment needs operators to continuously plan, calibrate, and upgrade their networks to satisfy the various requirements of urban and rural contexts. It is also a capital-intensive operation with short technological cycles. According to the COAI, there are more than 7.5 lakh telecom towers in the nation, and approximately 10 billion customer premises have end-user equipment installed.

Read More – COAI Fights for 6 GHz Spectrum for India’s 5G Networks.

All participants in the electronics ecosystem are required to responsibly collect and dispose of their e-waste under the e-waste laws, which attempt to control the disposal of electronic waste. The new regulations will take the place of the previous standards, which were originally made known in 2016.

The COAI suggested that the implementation of e-waste standards for this schedule/category be set for April 1, 2024, providing the telecom industry a one-year delay. Electronic items deployed in telecom networks would be placed under a separate schedule/category.

The letter also emphasized the need for extensive engagement with the telecom sector and its nodal ministry, the DoT, as the regulations are being applied to the sector for the first time.

The COAI’s plea for a delay has come as India works to enhance its e-waste management procedures. Only a small percentage of the 3.2 million metric tonnes of e-waste that India produces each year gets recycled or properly disposed of. The new e-waste regulations were put in place to promote improved e-waste management and advance India’s transition to a circular economy.

What do you think?

Written by Shallu Srivastav

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