Trai Issues Showcause Notice to Airtel for Disrupting Service in Middle of Migration Process

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) which introduced a new tariff mandate last year had warned the DTH operators and cable service providers that the consumers should not be shown a black screen in case they have sufficient balance in their accounts during the migration process to the new packs. However, as per the latest update from PTI, Airtel has received a show-cause notice from the regulator as consumers reported facing a black screen while they were migrating to the new Trai based plans. Trai has taken care not to reveal the name of the operator to stay away from a media outbreak.

Airtel in Tight Spot Due to Disrupted Services

Trai in its statement said, “The Authority has issued an explicit direction to all the service providers to ensure that there are no interruptions…in cases where subscribers are availing pre-paid service, no disruption of service will be caused, if there is a credit balance available in the subscriber’s wallet/account…However, the Authority received information that while migrating consumers, one large service provider has caused a blackout on the TV screen of a few thousand subscribers. Taking a serious view, the Authority has issued show cause notice to that service provider.”

And the big DTH provider is Airtel Digital TV, according to Press Trust of India. The showcause notice was issued by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) earlier this week, and Airtel has been given three days time to respond, PTI reported. When contacted by PTI, an Airtel spokesperson said a few customers might have experienced delays in the provisioning of channels, owing to a massive surge in last minute requests during migration, and that the service provider remains committed to ensuring compliance with all regulatory norms.

Another problem which the consumers and DTH operators have been facing alike is the issue of heavy traffic on the DTH operator’s websites and call centres. Because of the large number of subscribers vying to switch to new Trai based plans, the DTH operators are not able to handle the traffic on their sites thus resulting in crashed web-page for the consumers. Same is the situation for call centres of these providers.

Airtel's DTH offerings had 15 million customers at the end of the December quarter, an increase of 7.6% over the corresponding quarter last year.

Consumers Take Grievances onto Social Media

The regulator in its intimation to the public has said, “The Authority assures such subscribers to be patient if they are unable to exercise options due to limitation/non-functioning of service provider’s website/ Mobile App etc. Distribution Platform Operators have assured the Authority that sufficient opportunity will be provided to such subscribers for submitting their options and availing the TV channels as per choice.”

Trai had announced that the deadline for migration to new plans for all consumers is February 1, 2019. As a lot of consumers could not complete the migration process in this period, they faced multiple problems while trying to contact DTH providers like Airtel Digital TV, Tata Sky, Dish TV and D2h. These consumers have also taken to social media to voice their grievances. Some consumers have also reported about activation of wrong plans by the DTH providers.

As per estimations, about 150-200 million customers have migrated to the new Trai based plans by February 1. It is also being recommended to the subscribers to resubmit their channel selection using their preferred method in case they face any further problem.

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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