The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) dropped a significant notification on the New Year’s Day announcing the changes from the discussions and consultations paper held over the past few months. While the first half of 2019 went into the implementation of the Trai tariff regime or the National Tariff Order (NTO), the other half of it went into fixing the so-called “drawbacks” of the NTO. After a lot of deliberations, Trai decided to make some changes to the existing rules. To lower the bills of the DTH consumers and to make the order more favourable for the public, Trai decided that now it would offer 200, instead of 100 channels on the base NCF price of Rs 130. Also, the telecom regulatory removed the counting of mandated channels from these 200 channels so that the subscribers can make free choices in these slots. It also allowed discounts on the channel packs which come with six months of validity or more. However, the focus remains on promoting a-la-carte channel with minimal discounts on channel packs. Lastly, there is a slight increase in some of the channel pricing.
Will You Pay Lower TV Bills?
Now, although Trai has put forth these implementations for the good of the public in the expectations that it would lower the TV bills of the consumers, will it really do the same? Also, a lot will depend on how consumers will make their choices regarding the channel packs. As such, there are some things that you should know.
Lower NCF Charges
As part of the first change that the subscribers will get, they will not have to pay any additional NCF until 200 channels. This basically means that the subscribers who were spending more on the additional channels at the rate of Rs 20 per 25 channels, will save this amount as they would get the slot for entire 200 channels for Rs 130. Someone who was paying Rs 80 extra for the 100 extra channels, would not have to pay this amount to their DTH operator right now.
Price Increase for Broadcaster Channels
Now there is a catch here also. Although Trai has lowered the NCF pricing for the subscribers, some of the channel pricing has been increased by the broadcasters. Also, the channels which are priced more than Rs 12 per month will not be included in the channel packs. Hence, this means that opting for the channels in an a-la-carte manner is now cheaper. There is also a cap on discount on the channel packs, and this means that there won’t be major differences between the pricing of the channels when chosen individually or when chosen the same in a channel pack. So, some of the channel packs which were giving you massive savings before will not be giving as many savings now with the new cap on the discount.
Overall, it can be said that for the subscribers who were opting for a lot of FTA channels by paying for extra NCF over the 100 channel count, it is good news as they could be saving some more. On the other hand, if you are opting for the broadcaster packs or a lot of GEC channels, then the bill might increase for you since the channel prices of these individual channels are bound to increase some time or the other. There is also the choice with the consumers that they can rely on OTT content.