The new Tariff regime came into effect on 29th December 2018. However, to provide sufficient time to subscribers for exercising their options, the Authority has extended the time to 3 March.
In its release, TRAI said: “There are approx. 100 million cable service TV homes and 67 million DTH TV homes 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. It was brought to the notice of the Authority that as the system of selecting channels/bouquet by the subscribers had been introduced for first time in the country, some subscribers are facing difficulties in selecting the channels/bouquet of their choice. In some cases, LCOs have not been able to reach out to subscriber to create awareness among them and collect the options. 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 IT system to exercise their options.”
No inconvenience to be caused to subscribers
TRAI has categorically emphasised that pay channels of the subscribers who have not exercised the options will not be deactivated causing hardship to the subscribers. The Regulator had called for a meeting of all DTH operators and major Multi System Operators (MSO) in the TRAI office on 11.02.2019 to assess the status of implementation. The operators informed that implementation of migration is in full swing and subscribers who have exercised their option have been migrated to new framework. They are making all efforts to reach out to remaining subscribers.
TRAI moots ’Best Fit Plan’
“The Authority noted that though the new framework promotes consumer choice and enables the subscribers to pay for what they wish to view but 'non-exercise of the option' should not create any inconvenience to the subscribers. Accordingly, the Authority requested all DPOs to create 'Best Fit Plan' for its subscribers who have not exercised their options yet,” TRAI said.
TRAI added: “The 'Best Fit Plan' shall be designed based on Consumers' usage pattern and language spoken. It should preferably be a blended combination of various Genres, while making '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.”
Help Subscribers to exercise choice
The regulator said that DPOs should 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.
In view of the larger public interest, the Authority directed all DPOs that those subscribers who do not exercise their options should be migrated to a 'Best Fit Plan'. The subscribers' old plan shall continue till either subscriber exercise his/her option, or he j 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.