- Trai reported a total of 69 million subscribers at the end of Sep
- At the end of June, this figure was only 54 million
- The subscribers were 72 million before Trai tariff regime
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has made very rapid changes to the rules which govern the broadcasting and the DTH industry in India. This has not gone well with the broadcasters and the DTH service providers. Largely, the stakeholders have been reluctant for the new changes that Trai proposes. Although Trai pushes the stakeholders towards innovation and better consumer-centric practices, the move with the Trai tariff regime in 2019 backfired for the sector regulator. After realising some of the mistakes that Trai had committed in the first implementation of the National Tariff Order, Trai started working on the changes that it could bring to these new rules. The result of this ideation is the National Tariff Order 2.0, which seeks to make the NTO better for the consumers and is likely to reduce the prices of DTH and cable connections in the process. In the quarter following the rollout of the Trai tariff regime, the DTH industry lost close to 20 million subscribers, but thins might be looking different right now with a hint of improvement.
Situation Better Since Implementation of New Imagery
To base our argument, it is imperative to look at two pieces of report one which was published in Apr-June quarter, and the one from Trai which has been recently published studying the quarter of July-Sep. To recall, in the previous report which was published right after the implementation of the new Trai tariff regime when the changes in the industry were fresh, we got to see some drastic numbers like the fall of the total DTH subscribers to 54.26 million down from 72.44 million. The prime reason for this was the poor education of the consumers towards the new Trai tariff regime, failure to migrate these consumers and the rising cost of the DTH and the cable TV bill which led to the disconnection of many DTH subscribers.
Subscribers Coming Back to DTH Platforms
But. In the coming of the new report which highlights data from the next subsequent period of July-Sep, we have got to see an interesting development. This data has to do with the active subscribers base. While the active DTH subscribers were reduced to 54 million, in Sep, these subscribers jumped up back to 69.3 million. To recall, except almost 3 million subscribers, a lot of the DTH customers came back soon after the effects of Trai tariff regime subsided.
Why Subscribers Could be Coming Back
It is quite possible that the reason why we got to see a sharp slump right after the implementation is that the consumers were not educated enough in many areas to make the switch to the new Trai tariff regime and thus faced disruption. As a result, by the end of the quarter, there were a lot of disconnected subscribers. But, over time, the loopholes were patched and these subscribers were connected to the DTH services again and by now a few months had passed, and the DTH operators had long term packs, new policies and more thereby making it more feasible for the subscriber to turn back.
This is also a definitely good sign for the DTH industry as more active subscribers translate to better revenue too. Another thing to look at here in the latest Trai data is the market share of companies which changed very little in the last three months, and Tata Sky remains the top DTH operator in the country.
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.