Since the last few days, there has been a stunning silence in the broadcasting sector and both the telecom regulator and service providers are busy in migrating the remaining customers to the new tariff regime. It's already a piece of known news that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has extended the deadline of choosing channel packs until March 31, 2019. On the brighter side, it also confirmed that 57% of DTH subscribers chose the new plans. DTH and Cable TV service providers are launching new combo plans to attract the subscribers, but to the disappointment of customers, DTH providers have removed the long-duration plans. But the sector regulator is asking them to continue the long validity plans and it's expected that the DTH operators will soon introduce the same based on the new pricing scheme.
Change in Long Duration Packs
The latest direction by the regulator says that the DTH operators like Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV, Dish TV and more would have to continue the long duration packs to their original validity. To recall, a lot of these DTH providers were selling these long-duration plans as late as in December 2018. Going by the new rule, if a subscriber had purchased the long duration pack on December 2018 for one-year validity, then the DTH provider would have to serve the subscriber as per the original terms till December 2019. This new direction hurts the DTH providers financially.
The new Trai mandate means that the charges which the DTH providers are paying to the channel owners have gone up. In such case, if the long duration subscriber pays the old price, then it is going to mean a financially less-viable deal for the DTH players. Trai in its statement has also said that in case the subscribers of the long duration plan make their channel selection, then they should be migrated like the other subscribers, and their monthly rental should be adjusted against their paid amount month on month.
Trai Asks DTH Providers to Keep Long Duration Packs
Trai in its statement said, “The Authority further reiterates that subscribers who have taken long term packs will continue to avail the services for the contracted period. However, they have the freedom to choose the channels of their choice under the new regulatory framework and in case if they exercise this option, money for the remaining period shall be adjusted for their future use.”
It is worth noting that Trai had started discussing the new tariff mandate back in the first half of 2018, but still DTH providers continued with selling the long duration packs as further into the year in December. The DTH providers, being fully aware that they will face the problem in case the new mandate is implemented, went on with selling these packs.