The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has passed a new mandate, according to which, installation and activation expenses charged by DTH providers, will be capped at Rs 500. This means, per the new mandate, DTH providers will not be able to charge more than Rs 350 as installation charge, and not more than Rs 150 as an activation charge of the service.
Currently, Tata Sky charges Rs 1,500 installation and activation charges (with one-month free subscription). There are also other DTH providers like Airtel that are still charging up to Rs 1,200 for the service.
These charges are non-refundable, and no extra rental is charged for equipment on top of service rentals. However, according to the report, after this new mandate is out, DTH providers may start charging an upfront refundable deposit and a monthly charge for equipment. TRAI says that this refundable amount will be returned to the subscriber if they inform the DTH provider of disconnection 15 days in advance.
In a clarification issued by TRAI on the new regime, the regulatory body said, “A Distributor of television channels or its linked local cable operator, as the case may be, may charge an amount not exceeding rupees three hundred and fifty as a one-time installation charge.. [and] an amount not exceeding rupees one hundred as a one-time activation charge for activating the broadcasting services related to television.”
Further, TRAI also said that DTH providers can not force consumers to buy set-top box of a particular brand. If the set-top box passes the requisite quality and technology, then it must be used.
TRAI said, “It shall be permissible for every subscriber to buy a set top box of approved quality from the open market, if available, which is technically compatible with the system of the Distributor of television channels. The distributor or its linked local cable operator, as the case may be, shall not compel any subscriber to buy or take on rent the set-top box from him alone.”
Consequently, according to reports, these changes will also lead to some shift in the charges for these services. Telecom Talk reports that as of now, a DTH provider pays Rs 2,200 for the equipment of an SD connection, and about Rs 2,500 for the HD one. This cost is then divided half between the DTH provider and subscriber. However, with the new regime, DTH providers will likely charge a security deposit of Rs 700-1200 in addition to the Rs 500 installation and activation charge. Or the other way could be to sell the set-top box to customers for Rs 1,500-2,500.
Further, TRAI has also settled the dust on the recent rumour that subscribed TV channels will blackout with the new regulatory regime.
TRAI assures consumers that there will be no disruption of TV services due to the order’s implementation.
The new regime will come to effect on 29 December.