Keeping in view of the larger public interest, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said it has decided to extend migration time for subscribers to select their new TV subscription plans, in accordance with the MRP-based broadcast tariff order, till March 31.
Earlier, February 1 was set as the deadline for migration of consumers to the new broadcast regulatory framework.
The TRAI has directed Multi-System Operators and Direct-to-Home players, which are the Distribution Platform Operators (DPOs), to migrate subscribers who have not yet exercised their options to the “Best Fit Plan” based on consumers’ usage pattern, language spoken and popularity of channels. 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,” the regulator said.
The regulator acknowledged that subscribers are facing difficulties in selecting channels and bouquets of their choices since this system has been introduced for the first time. Industry players said that the regulator took the decision to extend this deadline for subscribers so that they do not face black-out or disruptions of paid-channels. DPOs have been using such tactics to nudge the consumer to make the shift to the MRP-based subscription plans in certain cities.
Meanwhile, the regulator said that subscribers’ old plan will continue till either the subscriber exercises her/his option or till the time she/he is migrated to the Best Fit Plan by the DPO. At the same time, DPOs have been directed to convert their Best Fit Plan into the consumers’ desired pack within 72 hours from the time the choice is exercised by the subscribers.
TRAI estimates, 65 percent of the cable TV subscribers and 35 percent of DTH subscribers have opted for subscription plans in accordance with the broadcast tariff order.
The Authority noted that ‘non-exercise of the option’ should not create any inconvenience to the subscribers,’ the statement added. DPOs have been directed to continue to enable subscribers to select channels and packs as per their choices through their call centers, mobile apps or through the website.
It reiterated that pre-paid subscribers who have long term packs will continue to avail the services for the contracted period. There are currently 100 million cable TV homes and 67 million DTH TV homes in the country.