The new regulatory regime brought into effect the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has been anything but smooth. The DTH service providers, the broadcasters, MSOs and the consumers alike have been roped into the new tariff regime as the result of its implementation. As part of the new rules, Trai switched up things like the pricing on the broadcasters’ end, introduced something called as the network capacity fees (NCF), new channel packages and pricing for the consumers as well. Trai has now released a very crucial consultation paper which pertains to the new tariff regime as it seeks the stakeholders’ views on the various aspects of the new regulatory regime. However, with such a major consultation paper floating in the industry and open for comments the consumers are starting to wonder will this paper initiate a change in prices of DTH connections for the good of the consumers.
Pricing Cap on A-La-Carte Channels and Discounts on Bouquets
Trai has noted after analysis that the new tariff regime has definitely brought transparency into the sector and also harmonised the business processes while reducing disputes which were popping up among the stakeholders. While Trai counted on the positives of its latest DTH rules implementation, it also added that in a lot of scenarios, the consumers were not provided proper choices to select their TV channels. It is also worth noting that there has been a string of complaints to Trai regarding the channel pricing and the selection options which the consumers got for the process of migration of the new tariff regime.
As part of the new Trai tariff regime, Trai has also put an upper cap on the pricing of a-la-carte channels. For the broadcasters, the standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) would set them back by Rs 19 per channel. There is also the issue of extreme discounts being provided to the consumers when it comes to the channel bouquets. As per the Trai data available on the report, that bouquets are offering a discount of up to 70% of the total sum of the a-la-carte channels. With the prices of individual channels capped, the bouquet of the channels is bound to be much more affordable.
With New Changes, A-La-Carte Channels Could Become More Affordable
Trai is also worried that the broadcasters are pushing their channel packages and channel bouquets over a-la-carte channels. This is because of the illusory pricing of the a-la-carte channels and the heavy discounts on the channel bouquets. In such a case, Trai is ideating whether or not to apply a cap on discounts which can be given on the channel bouquets as compared to the sum of a-la-carte channels. If this happens, then the subscribers who are already on hefty channel bouquets will have to shell out comparatively more as compared to what they were shelling out before.
Alternatively, instead of the prices of channel bouquets going up, it is also possible that Trai might bring down the upper cap on the a-la-carte channels, thus pushing the demand for the a-la-carte channels. There is also the new mandatory network capacity fee which the subscribers have to pay as Rs 130 per month for 100 channel slots.