TRAI Will Punish DTH Operators Who Are Increasing Prices Using TRAI’s New Tariff Order As Excuse
The job of a watchdog is never easy. The regulatory body has to ensure the interests of all the stakeholders involved in the ecosystem. They have to ensure enough freedom which is conducive for conducting business. At the same time, they need to ensure that freedom is not affecting consumers. In the same effort, the apex body overlooking everything related to the telecom sector has come up with a New Tariff Order (NTO 2.0) which is causing waves across the sector.
TRAI warns against exploitation
Recently the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) warned the broadcasters by saying that it will take action if necessary in the interest of consumers and the sector. The central authoritative body said that some of the broadcasters are “exploiting” the freedom they have got for a-la-carte pricing of the TV channels.
According to the reports, TRAI has noticed misuse of recent rules. It said that some leading broadcasters are taking advantage of the new rules. They have also increased the prices of popular channels or channels, which is driving traffic. These channels mainly consist of sports and general entertainment channels (GEC).
TRAI calls out misleading campaign
The regulator noted that the new tariff order (NTO 2.0) and broadcast regulations are being blamed wrongly for the impending price increase. According to TRAI, a misleading campaign runs to blame the NTO 2.0 for the price increase. It is being publicized that people who go for the top sports or the GEC channels will have to pay Rs 100 extra. But this is not true, TRAI noted.
TRAI called it “a fictional pretension”. The regulator has clarified that NTO 2.0 doesn’t put forth any condition where the prices of the subscription are increased.
TRAI said that it recognizes that some of the prices are unsustainable as they are not driven by the demand and are also not market-determined prices. Hence, the regulator finds these prices against the interest of the consumers.
According to TRAI, the NTO 2.0 has benefitted the customers a lot, and it is not meant for increasing prices. The broadcasters are using it as a tool to drive prices up. The regulator also clarified that some price modifications have been done after passing a part of the benefits to consumers as well.
How broadcasters respond, will be interesting to see. Stay tuned for it.