Reliance Communications today confirmed that it's going to shut down its DTH arm business Reliance Digital TV with effect from November 18. RCom has said the reason behind the decision is the expiry of its DTH license, and the company is not looking to renew it.
Furthermore, Reliance Digital TV hasn't made a mark in the country and in recent times, RCom searched for a potential buyer of the business, but no one showed interest in purchasing the business. If you recall, RCom also tried its best to merge the business with Sun Group's Sun Direct, but that didn't go through as well.
RCom has a mountain to climb and the mountain here is the debt. The company has over Rs. 45,000 crore debt, and by selling the DTH business, the company looked to reduce the debt. Also, the company recently lapsed its merger with telecom operator Aircel.
“Reliance Digital TV informs its customers that due to the expiry of our licence we will be shutting down our DTH services across India wef 18 November. Customers are advised to make alternative arrangements to keep watching their favourite TV channels. We regret the inconvenience caused,” Reliance Big TV said in its notice.
So, the DTH operators count in India comes down to five, after RCom shutting down the Reliance Digital TV. Currently, there are six DTH platforms in India, and the smallest among them is the Reliance Digital TV with a measly market share of just 2%. As per the recent Trai data, Reliance Digital TV has 2% share out of 65.31 million active pay DTH subscribers.
Reliance Digital TV was recently directed to pay an amount of Rs. 7.5 crore by the end of this week. Also, Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) threatened the operator of suspending the services if the dues are unpaid. And RCom moved to Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) looking for relief. Furthermore, RCom was into trouble earlier as well with TV broadcasters over non-payment of dues.