Trai Asked to Explain Reason for Tariff Order Deadline Extension by Delhi HC

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It seems that now the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) may be caught in another legal affair after a notification which it updated a few days back. Delhi High Court has asked Trai to submit an affidavit explaining its announcement. Chief Justice Rajendra Menon has asked Trai to explain why it has extended the deadline for the implementation of new tariff rule till March 31, while the new tariffs have become applicable since February 1 only. To recall, Trai on Wednesday had put out a notification informing subscribers about the changes it had introduced concerning the deadline of the new tariff implementation.

High Court Asks for Explanation of Extension

There has been a legal battle ensuing between Tata Sky along with Discovery Communications, Airtel Digital TV and Sun Direct and the regulator Trai concerning the implementation of the new tariff regime. However, the bench adjourned the case till February 23, but in the meantime, the court has asked the regulator to submit its explanation for the frequent changes which it is making to the tariff implementation guidelines.

It is worth noting that Trai, with its latest implementation, has further complicated the situation by extending the deadline for the transition to the latest Trai based packs. The complications arise from the fact that subscribers were supposed to be at the hem of this transition and not the DTH and cable operators. But, with this new change, a lot of responsibility is on the DTH and cable providers thus diverging from Trai’s initial aim. Another concern of DTH providers is about how they will pay the broadcaster with the new channel prices while some of the subscribers would be paying the old price, while a fraction would be paying the new prices according to their channel packs. This latest extension is the one of three which Trai has introduced in the matter of past few months. The regulator has also said that in total 90 million subscribers have made the switch.

Trai Issues Guidelines for Best Fit Plans

In the same new notification, the regulator has said that DPOs should come up with ‘Best Fit Plans’ for the subscribers to which they should be migrated in case they haven’t yet made their channel selections. However, “Subscribers will be free to change their 'Best Fit Plan' at any date and time on or before 31st March 2019 and DPOs shall convert their 'Best Fit Plan' into the desired pack (channel/Bouquet) within 72 hours from the time choice exercised by the Subscriber,” said Trai. This way, the DPOs would not hold the subscribers in a lock-in period, and they will be able to switch to their custom plan any time before March 31.

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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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