Sudhir Gupta, Secretary in TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has issued a framework for Direct to Home (DTH) operators in India, which would bring cheers to TV viewers across the country. This framework is regarding DTH portability which will make it easier for consumers to switch operators without any hassles.
This is for the first time that such a directive has been issued with clear guidelines.
The Tariff Order (TO) which has been named “Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Seventh) (Direct to Home Services) Tariff Order, 2015 (2 of 2015)” was issued to prescribe an official framework for “commercial interoperability of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) offered by Direct to Home (DTH) operators to their subscribers.”
Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) is the technical name for set-up boxes which consumers need to install in order to access DTH services. Normally, in case a consumer decides to switch operators, he needs to purchase a new set-up box every time, and needs to pay the installation charges, deposit amount and all other service charges.
TRAI observed the hassles and expenses faced by the end user during such changes, and have made efforts to address each of these issues.
Major pointers as shared in this framework declaration by TRAI:
- DTH Operators are now mandated to formulate a purchase scheme of used set-up boxes, which should be introduced as a standard scheme for all consumers, for all types of set-up boxes
- Operators have been asked to create a rent based system for set-up boxes as well, wherein a refundable security deposit, installation and activation fees is charged one-time.
- From now on, all DTH operators are mandated to offer free maintenance and repairs of set-up boxes for a period of three years. In case a technician is required to visit the premises, then a charge of not more than Rs 250 shall be levied.
- Operators have been mandated to become more transparent regarding installation and activation. Rs 450 has been mandated as the maximum charge for these activities
- If the consumer decides to switch operators, then the company needs to buy back the set-up box after deducting the maintenance charges and in case of rent based scheme, the security deposit needs to be returned
- A collection center has to be created by every DTH operator for easy returns
As of now, there are 73 million DTH users in India, which are served by 7 major operators:
Dish TV; DD Free Dish; Airtel digital TV; Tata Sky; Videocon d2h; Reliance Digital TV; Sun Direct
DTH portability was being talked about since 2009, when TRAI muted the possibility of portability option for consumers, as they are stuck after choosing one. Switching to a different operator is time consuming, expensive affair, and TRAI realized these facts finally.
Certainly it’s a welcome step from TRAI, and we congratulate them for issuing the guidelines for easy DTH Portability.
You can access the Tariff Order (TO), issued by TRAI: “Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services (Seventh) (Direct to Home Services) Tariff Order, 2015 (2 of 2015)” here.