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Trai Looking to Make New Changes to New Tariff Regime: What Does it Entail for the Consumers?

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) introduced the new tariff regime for the good of the industry back in 2017, the new regulatory framework which involved changes to the quality of service norms, changes to rules related to distribution, broadcasting and the way these services were priced. However, when these new rules went into implementation, the market did not precisely react how the telecom regulator had thought that it would. With that, the telecom regulator decided that it would now “fine-tune” the new regulatory framework to make it better for both the industry stakeholders and the consumers. Until now, we have heard about the following changes that are likely to take place in the industry, the question, however, is how are these changes going to affect the consumers?

A decline in Audience for Niche Channels

The new consultation that Trai has floated in the industry pertaining to the correction of the new regulatory framework holds a slightly contrasting stance against the bundling of channels into bouquets. Trai is against the rampant discounting of the channel bouquets which see more number of takers as opposed to individual channels. The regulator is going to go against the situation by capping discount on these channel bouquets.

Discouraging bouquets is going to mean that the smaller channels that used to bundle with the larger channels, will not be making their way to these channel packs any more. As a result, it is expected that if this decision goes through, then the viewership of these small niche channels might decline, and some of these broadcasters might also go bust. As such, it is likely that a lot of subscribers who like these small niche channels, mostly in the niche of cooking or travelling might have to bid goodbye to these channels.

Third-Party Application for Channel Selection

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had also floated another consultation paper which talked about bringing a new third-party application to the consumers, which would help in channel selection. Although this paper has been highly criticised by the DPOs on the grounds that such an application would only be redundant and would bring security concerns into the picture, the arrival of a TPD application for channel selection would mean that the subscribers would have an unified method of controlling their subscription.

Cheaper A-la-Carte Channels for Subscribers

Also, the new consultation paper from Trai on the issues of the regulatory framework talks about the regulator might go ahead to cap the prices of the individual channels which are currently priced at Rs 19. If such a move is given the go-ahead, then the consumers will be able to enjoy the same channels at a cheaper cost, thus bringing down monthly subscriptions as well. This would also solve the Trai’s purpose of promotion more individual channel selection as opposed to channel bouquets.

Arpit Sharma

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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Arpit Sharma