The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on January 1, 2020, made several changes to its 2017 initial tariff order with the new changes focusing on Network Capacity Fee (NCF) and broadcaster pricing. While certain elements of the order are being challenged in courts, the majority of the tariff order were implemented from March 1, 2020. Trai said that “the amendments will usher in better consumer offerings, more flexible tariff schemes and more choices for consumers.” As we enter into the fourth week of the new tariff order, TelecomTalk looks at the major changes that were made with the new tariff order.
NCF: More Channels in the Base Slab of Rs 130
With the new tariff order, Trai has asked the Distribution Platform Operators (DPO) to offer 200 channels for the base price of Rs 130. Further, the maximum NCF that can be charged by a DPO cannot exceed Rs 160 per month. The new tariff order also lets the DPO charge different rates for certain regions/areas.
Adjusted Rates for Multi TV Connections
For those with Multi TV connections, the new tariff order would ensure that full NCF is not changed but rather a DPO can levy a maximum of 40% NCF from the declared charges on the primary connection. DPOs are also now required to allow customers to select different channels on each of their TV connections.
Long-Term Pack Discounts and Promotional Offers
Trai has said that the DPOs can now offer discounts on long term packs which are six months or more. Crucially, it was said that the DPOs can now offer promotional schemes for a period of 90 days. However, the schemes have to be at par with those of broadcasters and can be offered no more than two times a calendar year.
New Prices from DTH Players Implemented Already
Majority of the DPOs including players like Tata Sky, D2h, Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV implemented the new rates in the first week of March. Notably, Airtel Digital TV and Tata Sky implemented the new rates for the multi TV NCF as well as the primary NCF on March 1 while others delayed the implementation of new rates.
Sadly, Cable TV operators are yet to implement the new rules by Trai and there's no update on when they will offer the same to consumers.