Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 1st April 2015 has issued a tariff order (TO) namely the Telecommunication (broadcasting and cable) Services (Seventh) (the Direct To Home Services)Tariff Order, 2015 (2 Of 2015).
In it, TRAI has prescribed a framework for commercial interoperability of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) offered by the DTH service providers to their subscribers.
As per TRAI, in India we have 6 private DTH service providers offering their services to 73 million customers in India.
Major DTH service providers are Airtel Digital TV, Dish TV, Tata Sky, Videocon d2h, Reliance Digital TV and Sun Direct.
To move from one DTH service provider to another, customers are required to invest in the CPE or SetUp Box of the other operator as CPE provided by one DTH service provider may not be compatible with the network of another DTH service provider.
To protect the interest of customers TRAI has proposed the provision of commercial interoperability of CPEs and mandating transparent and upfront declaration of all charges and conditions by the DTH operators at the time of providing service.
If it’s implemented, then subscribers will have an exit option in cases where he or she wishes to change the present DTH operator and avail the services from another preferred DTH operator.
Below we have listed salient features of this tariff order;
- Transparent price declaration of all types of CPEs by the DTH operators to enable a subscriber to make an informed choice.
- Transparent and upfront declaration of installation & activation charges by DTH operators which shall not exceed Rs 450.
- DTH operators to mandatorily offer an outright purchase scheme called Standard Scheme for all types of CPEs on standalone basis.
- DTH operators may offer additional schemes including bundled schemes and rental schemes.
- In the rental schemes, DTH operators can charge a specified one-time interest free refundable security deposit, installation and activation charges from the subscriber during enrolment followed by specified monthly rental charges. No repair /maintenance charges are permissible from such subscribers.
- DTH operators shall cater for free maintenance and repairs of CPEs for three years after installation/activation. In case of outright purchase and hire purchase schemes, DTH operators may levy visitation charges not exceeding Rs 250/- per visit after the warranty period has elapsed.
- Subscribers shall have an option of buy-back/refund for CPEs in all the offered schemes including bundled schemes with an exception of rental schemes. In rental scheme, subscriber will get back the security deposit.
- DTH operators may prescribe a lock-in period not exceeding six months for a subscriber to remain committed. Subscribers can surrender the CPE anytime subject to levy of certain charges that have been prescribed.
- DTH operators shall setup headquarters to enable easy collection centers at every district return of CPEs. Subscribers shall be provided with a toll-free telephone number for registration of request for surrender of connection.
- Subscribers shall have option of returning the ePE by paying a nominal collection charge of Rs 300/- to the DTH operator or to return the ePE at the designated collection center.
- No other charges by any other name other than those specified in the TO can be levied on the subscribers by DTH operators.
- DTH operators shall declare all current schemes on their websites while also publishing all charges for each scheme. Subscribers to be given details of the scheme opted by him.
- DTH operators have been given at time of 60 days to align their business processes for compliance with the provisions of this TO.