Whether you are a DTH or cable TV subscriber, your TV bill will not appear the same from February when the new regulatory regime, as mandated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), kicks off. The regulatory body has come up with a set of rules which changes plans, packages and pricing of TV channels by all operators like Airtel DTH, Tata Sky, Dish TV, Hathway Cable, Siti Cable, Sun DTH, etc.
The new tariff order by TRAI, in most likelihood, will reduce the price you pay for watching television if you make a judicious choice of channels. After the TRAI order, not only have all broadcasters like Sony, Star, Zee, Discovery, Disney, National Geographic and Sun TV have announced individual pricing of all their TV channels but they have also come up with bouquets of several channels at discounted packages.
The new framework mandates all operators, including DTH, cable service provider or multi-system operator, to have a base package of 100 channels. You have the freedom to choose free to air (FTA) or pay channels or any bouquet of several channels in that list.
Your service provider cannot charge more than Rs 130 for the base package, excluding GST. If you want to watch a pay channel you will have to pay more for every such choice you make. The latest list by TRAI shows that there are 330 pay TV channels and 535 FTA channels.
Currently, Airtel DTH and Tata Sky are offering a base pack which begins from Rs 99.
Individual and bouquet channel package price:
TRAI has come up with a portal www.channeltariff.trai.gov.in which lists the price of all pay channels as well as bouquet packages of all broadcasters. The price mentioned in the list is MRP and no distributor can charge more than the maximum retail price declared by a broadcaster. The distributor can, however, choose to offer you discounted tariff plans.
Out of the list of 100 TV channels in the base package, you will have to deselect any number of FTA channels of your choice and add pay channels of equal number. The overall limit cannot cross 100.
In case you want to watch more than 100 channels in the base package, you can top it up with more channels. For every 25 channels, you add to the list of 100, you pay Rs 20 extra. For example, if you pay Rs 150, excluding GST, you get access to 125 channels. Besides that, you will have to pay extra for any pay channel you include on the list.
Cost of migration to new plans:
In case you have already paid for an annual plan, then the distributor shall continue to provide services for the remaining period without change in tariff plan, according to new TRAI rules. If you switch over to a new package after 1 February, then the proportional balance amount of existing package can be adjusted against the new package.―Livemint