TRAI Consultation Paper On Third-Party App For Channel Selection Opposed By DPOs

Not long ago, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had floated a consultation paper which envisaged a third-party app to be developed for channel selection and better consumer choice by the DTH customers. The telecom regulator had invited comments from the industry stakeholders. The DTH companies including Dish TV, Airtel Digital TV and Tata Sky have shared their comments on the consultation paper, and in essence, they stand against the draft regulations being proposed by TRAI for the development of a third-party application. The three DTH operators have asked the regulator to withdraw the draft regulations and have instead requested TRAI to come up with specific guiding principles for the websites and apps of the DPOs to accomplish the same purpose for which the third party app is being proposed.

Operators Oppose Development of Third-Party Application

The three operators collectively stated that they have all the resources at their disposal to make consumer choice easy and feasible. According to them, they also have the avenues of a proper website and application which allow the consumers to select their channels and channels packs, the same purpose for which TRAI is proposing the development of a third-party application. These DTH operators said that the development of an API app is not a requirement. Not only this, but the operators also added that they are taking steps to simplify and further ease the process of channel selection or removal for the consumers.

TRAI in its Explanatory Memorandum remarked that the Distribution Platform Operators have no interest in providing consumer-friendly options to the customers. To which, Tata Sky spoke against and said that TRAI is to be blamed for the increased monthly bills of subscribers which are a result of the new Trai tariff regime. Tata Sky also added that this is against the spirit of consultation and consensus as TRAI is pushing the development of third-party applications and ignoring the previous inputs of the DPOs. It also added that the DPOs had invested a lot of time and resources for the development of their respective applications, which allow easy, consumer-friendly channel selection.

Third-Party Application for Channel Selection and Its Security Concerns

Not only this, but the DPOs also raised concerns over the security on development of third-party apps. The DPOs added that they are currently responsible for maintaining the security and privacy of the users on their applications. In the case of third-party apps, the customers’ data might be breached, and they could have access to the information about the customers, their subscribed plans, selected channels etc. Further, these third parties might influence bias in the channel or channel pack selection. The operators also pointed out that in such a scenario, there is no accountability about who would take responsibility in case such a situation emerges. Airtel Digital TV also said that the TPDs would not be developing anything that the DPOs could not develop independently. On these lines, the DPOs requested TRAI to develop a broader set of guidelines for the apps and websites of DPOs.―Telecom Talk

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