Image in post New Tariff Order - TRAI extends Subscriber pack selection deadline to 31 March 2019

image trai logoFor subscribers who have not exercised the option of selecting their TV channels under the New Tariff Regime yet, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has extended time up to 31st March 2019 for making their choice. For such subscribers, TRAI has also requested  all DPOs to create a ‘Best Fit Plan’  and migrate them to the same.

TRAI has stipulated that the ‘Best Fit Plan’ shall be designed based on Consumers’ usage pattern and language spoken, and should preferably be a  blended combination of various genres. While making the ‘Best Fit Plan’ for a subscriber, DPOs should ensure that payout per month of the ‘Best Fit Plan’ generally does not exceed the payout per month of existing tariff plan of the subscriber.

Announcing this in a press release today, TRAI said the subscribers’ old plan shall continue till the subscriber either exercises his or her option, or he / she is migrated to the ‘Best Fit Plan’. Subscribers will be free to change their ‘Best Fit Plan’ at any date and time on or before 31st March 2019 and DPOs shall convert their ‘Best Fit Plan’ into the desired pack (channel/Bouquet) within 72 hours from the time choice exercised by the Subscriber. It is clarified that there will be no ‘lock-in period’ for the subscribers till 31st March 2019 who has been migrated to ‘Best Fit Plan’ by DPOs.

The Authority reiterated that subscribers who have taken long-term packs will continue to avail the services for the contracted period. However, they have freedom to choose the channels of their choice under the new regulatory framework and in case if they exercise this option, money for the remaining period shall be adjusted for their future use.

DPOs have been enjoined by TRAI to continue to provide various user-friendly methods to subscribers to exercise their choice. These methods may include personal contact by Local Cable Operator, calling on Call Centre Number, using Mobile Apps or through Website. DPOs should also continue to generate awareness among the subscribers regarding new Regulatory framework, its benefits and methods to exercise the option to choose the channels of their choice.

While announcing this today, TRAI shared that it had convened a meeting of all DTH operators and major Multi System Operators (MSO) on 11 February 2019, to assess the status of implementation of the new framework.

The DPOs had informed TRAI that implementation of migration was in full swing and that subscribers who had exercised their option had been migrated to new framework. The DPOs also assured TRAI they are making all efforts to reach out to the remaining subscribers, and that in no case would any inconvenience be caused to any subscriber in the whole migration process.

It will be recalled that in March 2017, TRAI had notified the ‘New Regulatory Framework’ (or the New Framework) for Broadcasting and Cable services. The new framework came into effect on 29th December 2018. However, to provide sufficient time to subscribers for exercising their options, the Authority had provided time up to 31st January 2019. All the Distribution Platform Owners! (DPOs) were required to migrate the subscribers as per their choice with effect from 1st February 2019.

However, because of the large number of cable service TV homes (approx. 100 million) and DTH TV homes (approx. 67 million)  in the country, as on date, approximately 65% of the subscribers of the cable services and 35% subscribers of the DTH services have already exercised the options.

The speed has been slower than expected because the system of selecting channels/bouquets by the subscribers had been introduced for the first time in the country, and hence some  subscribers were facing difficulties in making their selections. In some cases, LCOs had not been able to reach out to subscriber to create awareness among them and collect the options. Also, some subscribers may be required to go to nearest Point of Sale (POS) for exercising their option as they did not have access to IT facility or are not comfortable in using the IT system to exercise their options.

A few cases had been reported recently where pay channels of the subscribers who had not exercised the options had been deactivated. Such incidences were causing hardship to the subscribers, and TRAI has been emphasising time and again that no inconvenience should be caused to subscribers while they are migrated to the new framework.

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