Long Term Effects of Trai Tariff Regime and Areas for Improvement

Even with the new Trai tariff implementation in full fervour, there are some areas where the regulator has overlooked the effect of the new rules

Highlights
  • Services like customer care and other operations of DTH companies will be scrutinised now.
  • ARPU of DTH companies is also expected to rise in the long term.

The most debated part about the broadcasting and TV industry right now is the new regulatory framework put together by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). This new tariff regime by the industry regulator sought to implement new norms to make the industry more transparent and cost-effective for the subscribers and also to improve the business side of things as well. However, people are strictly of the opinion that even though the new framework has been implemented nationwide, there are some areas which can still undergo improvement and can be repaired after the new Trai regime. While some of these might be an improvement from the perspective of subscribers, some others could be beneficial for the companies operating in this space.

trai-tariff-regime-improvement

Last Step for New Trai Pricing Framework

Now while there are a lot of merits to the new pricing framework like transparency, improved flexibility for choosing channels and thus paying for only them and more, there are some portions of the industry which haven’t yet given its support for the new pricing framework. There are the Cable TV operators who have faced a decline in their earning post the new Trai tariff regime, and thus it is becoming hard for them to believe in the vision that Trai is selling for this new framework.

There is also increased volatility in the DTH market as now subscribers are not shying away from switching their providers or opting out from cable TV services to DTH operators. There is also the issue with the ongoing legal battle between Trai and select broadcasters in the Delhi HC which tells us that the industry hasn’t been able to come to a unanimous decision regarding the implications of the new tariff regime. Some of these events might also lead to triggering a new wave of consolidation in the sector since we are already getting to hear some chatter about the possible acquisition of Dish TV by Airtel Digital TV and Singtel.

Steps to Be Taken by DTH Operators

Since the leading industry players in the broadcasting sector and the TV industry are the DTH companies, a lot remains in their hands too. Only a few days back, Trai had to intervene and send notices to Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV as both of these providers violated certain guidelines set by Trai. There were also a few cases where the subscribers were not getting the channels they opted, faced disruption, and some were even forced to view channels which they hadn’t added to their list. Besides this, some DTH operators were not adhering to the guidelines for setting up a proper customer care phone line.

These are some of the areas where the industry could tap in for some improvement with stringent adherence to the norms and strict following of quality of service standards.

Long Term Effects of Trai Tariff Regime

There are also some areas which might seem like a drawback on first look, but actually, Trai has said that some of these parameters will correct themselves as time passes. Although such areas could not be amended or addressed directly, since they will need time to recover, but with a bit of catalysis there are ways how these areas could benefit faster. For example, these include the issue of cable TV providers losing their revenue and their demand for levying a service charge, or the fluctuating viewership numbers right after the new tariff regime or some other loopholes which might pop up along the way. For example, a few days back Dish TV and Tata Sky had introduced lock-in period on their channel packs, which was actually considered as a near violation of the new found flexibility which the subscribers enjoyed. However, looking at the market sentiment, the DTH operators then had to do away with the lock-in period. On similar lines, Trai has also said that the DTH companies will witness higher ARPU, in the long run, owing to the new NTO.

Therefore, as above mentioned, these are the few areas where the TV industry and subscribers can hope to see some improvement. It is also crucial to note that while DTH operators will slowly work to fix these patches, some of the other parameters will be back on track as the new pricing framework solidifies with time.

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Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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