The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) introduced some major changes to the pricing of channels packs and other television-related charges in the past few months. A similar mandate by Trai has also highlighted that moving forward, DTH providers will not be able to charge more than Rs 500 for installation and activation of services. This charge has been broken into two parts with a separate max cap of Rs 350 for installation and Rs 150 as an activation charge. Before this, DTH operators were charging up to Rs 1,200 for installation and activation of DTH services, however, this was not a refundable amount, and the customer did not have to pay separately for the equipment. With this new mandate, but DTH operators are likely to charge a refundable deposit from the subscribers along with a monthly charge for the equipment.
New Capex on Activation and Installation Charges for DTH Providers
Regarding this new capex, Trai issued a clarification relating to the new tariff regime which comes into effect on December 29. The regulatory body said, “A Distributor of television channels or its linked local cable operator, as the case may be, may charge an amount not exceeding rupees three hundred and fifty as a one-time installation charge.. [and] an amount not exceeding rupees one hundred as a one-time activation charge for activating the broadcasting services related to television.”
Trai has also informed that if the consumers manage to find a set-top box which is usable with the DTH provider’s service, then they should be allowed to use the same. Expanding on this, Trai said, “It shall be permissible for every subscriber to buy a set top box of approved quality from the open market, if available, which is technically compatible with the system of the Distributor of television channels. The distributor or its linked local cable operator, as the case may be, shall not compel any subscriber to buy or take on rent the set-top box from him alone.”
New Rules for Equipment Related Charges
As per the current standards, the cost incurred by the DTH provider for equipment in an SD connection is Rs 2,200 whereas for an HD connection the fee stands at Rs 2,500. Traditionally, the DTH subscribers pay around half of this amount while the DTH providers manage the other half. With the introduction of the new tariff scheme, the most feasible way for the DTH providers will be to charge a security deposit of Rs 700-1200 on top of Rs 500 installation and activation charge. Another way that DTH providers can opt for is the selling of equipment to the subscribers for Rs 1,500-2,500.
Trai has also said that in case a subscriber disconnects from the DTH provider and notifies the DTH provider before 15 days of disconnection, then the DTH provider will have to refund the security amount within seven days of disconnection.
Apart from this, the regulator has also put a max cap on the visiting charge of service technicians to subscriber premises for carrying out repair and maintenance services. This charge has been set at a max of Rs 250 per visit.