Set-Top Box Interoperability, Unified Numbering System and Other Changes Which Trai May Bring Soon

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As always, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is planning some major changes for both the telecom and DTH sectors. The Trai tariff regime for the broadcasting sector introduced earlier this year did not receive a positive response from the citizens and the regulator is already working on to implement new changes. At the same time, Trai also issued a consultation paper on a unified number system which was recently opposed by telcos like BSNL and MTNL. Besides these two, Trai is also in the final stages of implementing Set-Top Box interoperability allowing customers to switch DTH and Cable TV operators with ease. Here are the changes which Trai already proposed to bring into the broadcasting and telecom sectors.

Use of Same Number for Landline and Mobile Phones

Trai has also floated a paper on the development of a unified numbering system. This has been done because of the scarce numbering resources available in the country. Under this, Trai has been ideating whether or not the same number can be used for landline and mobile services. If gone through, the subscribers will be able to have more ease accessing the same number on two instruments. Further, for the industry as well this would be pragmatic use of the numbering resources available right now. Recently, state-run telcos BSNL and MTNL opposed this move from Trai as they seem it unnecessary.

Fixing of Trai Tariff Regime

The most notable consultation paper of all which Trai has introduced in the public domain is the one which talks about fixing the issues with the new Trai tariff regime. In this paper, Trai has talked about the bouquet channel packs which offer massive discounts and encourage the bouquet selection more than individual channel selections. However, as per the inputs on this paper, the consequences following the moves would be harsh for small broadcasters and TV channels as they currently benefit from being included in bundled channel packs. Whereas, for the consumers, it is likely to make channel packs a little cheaper.

Third Party Application for Channel Selection

Trai had also floated this paper a few weeks back in the DTH industry, but it was vehemently opposed by the industry stakeholders and the DTH companies saying that such an application would pose a threat to data security and would be redundant. But, if Trai is able to overcome these issues and develops a third-party-app for channel selection, then subscribers of all DTH companies will be able to select channels from a single avenue.

Set-Top Box Interoperability

Another major consultation paper which has been brewing for some time now is about set-top box interoperability. Among all the papers included in this list, this is perhaps the one which will save the DTH subscribers most money as with STB interoperability they won’t have to buy a different set-top box every time they switch a DTH operator. This will save a lot of money and hassle for the subscribers and will make a level playing field for the DTH companies as the STB price will no longer be a decisive factor while choosing DTH operators.

Very recently, Trai said that it has completed the lab testing of Set-Top Box interoperability and the procedure may go public in the first half of 2020 or by the end of this year itself.

Reported By


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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