Digital TV arm of Bharti Airtel, Airtel Digital TV, is offering individual channels and bouquets with no lock-in period unless the customer opts it for a longer period. The new tariff regime by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has brought a lot of new changes to the DTH and Cable TV sector, including the removal of HD access fee charges, no lock-in period and so on. However, at the same time, a lot of DTH subscribers complained of increased TV bills even for the same channels which they used to have earlier. Right now, the sector regulator is in the process of revising the tariff regime and the changes are said to become effective by mid-November. Almost all the DTH operators have removed the lock-in period, which used to annoy a lot of customers in the previous tariff regime.
No Lock-In Period on A-la-Carte and Bouquet Packs from Airtel Digital TV
While Tata Sky is the most preferred DTH operator right now, Airtel Digital TV is not far behind as the operator is doing everything right to increase the subscriber base. Airtel Digital TV says that there will not be any lock-in period for the a-la-carte channels and bouquet packs chosen by the users. However, if a customer chooses the same plan for a longer duration, then there will be a lock-in period imposed by Airtel Digital TV.
"There is no lock-in period unless the subscriber has opted for an Advance Rental Plan or Long Term Validity Plans/Package," says Airtel Digital TV. This change was implemented by Trai itself and the DTH operators are implementing it without any issues.
For the unaware, earlier, DTH operators used to have a 30-day lock-in period, under which a subscriber will be locked into a particular channel for one month or 30 days. This used to annoy a lot of DTH subscribers out there, but thankfully, the lock-in period has been removed by most of the DTH operators right now.
There are several long-term channel packs being offered by Airtel Digital TV right now. Also, there are long-term recharge options as well. For instance, we have recently detailed that Airtel Digital TV is providing up to one month of free service if a customer chooses the same plan for 11 months. This recharge offer was introduced as part of the company's Diwali 2019 offer.
Dish TV Still Imposing 30-Day Lock-In on Channels
While Airtel Digital TV, Sun Direct and Tata Sky decided to remove the lock-in period on channels, Dish TV is still continuing to levy lock-in period for 30 days on almost all the channels. Similar to other DTH operators, Dish TV also providing a-la-carte channels to the subscribers and these channels from the operator come with a 30-day lock-in period, which is not a consumer-centric move from Dish TV.
Tata Sky also removed the 30-day lock-in period as part of the new tariff regime which became fully effective on April 1, 2019. This is the reason why Dish TV has lost its place to Tata Sky in terms of subscriber base. However, we have noticed that Dish TV keeps on removing the lock-in period and reintroduces it yet again for some unknown reasons. Similar to Airtel Digital TV, Dish TV already has a lock-in period for long-term channel packs or long-term recharges which it's currently providing.