TRAI to reduce DTH prices and consumers to select whatever channels they need
Earlier this year, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) introduced a couple of changes to the DTH regulation in India. And as we saw, Indians didn’t receive it very well. For most users, the new regulations indirectly increased the TV bill and also reduced the number of TV channels under the new a-la-carte system. Hence, most consumers still prefer to go for the operator chosen channel bouquets that are still offered at cheaper prices than the other plans. TRAI now wants to something to get things right.
The whole idea of the new DTH regulation was to give consumers more choice in choosing what they pay for. And TRAI still stands by its philosophy. The regulatory authority has been actively sending messages to TV subscribers in a bid to make them go for the new a-la-carte system and avail the benefits. TRAI says that the new a-la-carte system can help TV viewers get rid of unnecessary TV channels they don’t watch. Instead, they can pay for only those channels that they want to see.
With the a-la-carte system, TRAI says that viewers can get more control over their monthly TV bills and they can avoid unnecessary expenses on TV bills. Earlier, it was said that the a-la-carte system was justifiable to all the stakeholders in the DTH industry.
However, while the a-la-carte system promotes the ‘pay-for-what-you-see’ idea, it did have some issues with its pricing strategy. Many complained of the high Network Capacity Fee (NCF) that prevented them from choosing those channels. Instead, these consumers opt for the operator bouquets that come with high discounts.
Hence, media reports now suggest that TRAI is now looking to revise its DTH regulations and adjust its confusing pricing strategies. The authority is now trying to revise the Network Capacity Fee based on the regions. There’s no clarity on how this going to be implemented. Given that subscribers in most rural regions will stick to only the basics with all the free-to-air channels, TRAI could reduce the NCF in these regions in a bid to promote the new regulations among these.
Other revisions include talks on how much discount will be applicable on long term plans. As of now, most operators are selling their own channel bouquets with heavy discounts in a bid to lure customers to their plans. While this solves the higher price issue, it still hurts the idea behind the new regulations that wanted customers to have more control over their TV bills. The revised regulations are expected to fix this and create a balance between operator bouquets and a-la-carte system.