The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) rolled out the new tariff regime at the start of 2019 in view of bringing transparency to the industry. However, subscribers were not satisfied with the new regime as it just increased their monthly TV bills. With more and more DTH and Cable TV customers looking to phase out their connections, things are getting extremely tough for TRAI and operators alike. TRAI has admitted that the tariffs have increased under the new mandate and it’s also looking to make some changes to the new regime. Right now, the scenario is extremely tough for DTH, Cable TV operators are several subscribers are not renewing their monthly subscription and are getting used to OTT platforms to watch content.
TRAI Accepts Responsibility for Increased Monthly Cable and DTH Bills
After a lot of denials and dismissals, TRAI has finally come around and accepted the fact that the new regulatory and pricing framework might have hiked prices for the cable and DTH subscriptions in the country. In the time after the new implementation, TRAI has received numerous complaints about the rising monthly costs and as such, the sector regulator has finally decided to do something about it. In the coming months, TRAI will be floating a consultation paper to gauge some likely ideas about how it can reduce the monthly TV bills.
Troubles for Cable TV Operators Increase
The first and foremost and the fastest impact that we have got to see on the business side of the things is perhaps for the cable operators. In Kolkata, after the rollout of the new tariff regime, things have become tough for the cable operators as they are struggling to keep their operations normal under even with reduced earnings. The earnings for these operators have declined by as much as 45%. While previously they used to earn up to Rs 175 and Rs 200 per subscriber, now they get only Rs 90.
Due to this, the operators are having trouble paying salaries to their workers who collect subscription fee or carry out the maintenance work. These operators have even approached TRAI asking for permission to levy a service charge on subscriptions so that they can keep their operations running normally. If the situations remain this way, then it might be possible that the subscribers would have to pay the subscription fee to these operators by visiting their offices.
Monthly Rentals Increase for Subscribers
Although this is an ongoing debate, most subscribers can see the picture clearly. Most subscribers have reported that they are now paying more for the same channels which they previously used to watch on a much lower monthly rental. However, there is little that the subscribers can do about this. This phenomenon has already been noted by various surveys and studies which the firms have made. The YouGov study has already highlighted that post the new tariff regime; the subscribers feel more affinity towards the video on demand content services and OTT applications. There is little doubt now that the new tariff regime has slipped its hands deeper into the pockets of subscribers.
The new tariff regime brought a penetration problem to the industry as all the subscribers in all parts of the country were required to switch to the new system. What made it even more difficult was the fact that the migration required the intervention by the subscriber himself. However, things were difficult for the older age group as they were lost about the migration process to the new TRAI tariff regime and lacked the knowledge to use the company website to make channel selections. Also, while the DTH operators simply made a change to their sites to carry this out, the operators had to go the manual way as they made their customers fill out paper forms with channel selections.
The customers who were not able to migrate to the new tariff regime were updated with Best Fit Plans which closely resemble their previous channel selections. Even then, there is a chance that these subscribers might lose out on a few channels. Their monthly bill is also likely to change even though it won’t be more than what it previously was.