D2h, the DTH service from Dish TV, has become the first DTH provider in India to start moving subscribers to the new channel packs and plans under the TRAI Tariff Order of 2017.
Many subscribers have started getting intimation that their plan has been changed in accordance with TRAI’s new rules.
Customers can also accelerate the process by calling the company and making their preferences known for switching to a new channel.
If customers do not, or are unable to communicate their preferences, it is expected that companies will start moving them to new plans and packs that are the closest analogues to existing plans, under the new TRAI scheme.
The move has come a couple of days after the first milestone for migration of customers to the new schemes was passed.
According to the time table unveiled by the regulator two weeks ago, DTH and cable providers were supposed to reach out to at least 30% of their subscribers on the topic of migrating to the new plans by Monday, Jan 7, and update the regulator about it.
However, most of the cable and DTH providers are running woefully behind schedule, and many have not migrated, or sought preferences from, even a single customer to the new scheme.
TRAI has warned that all existing plans and packs will lapse on January 31 and customers will have to to be, by force, put into the new schemes from Feb 1.
D2h and Dish TV have been the most prompt in complying with the new guidelines so far, not least because they believe that it will bring uniformity of upstream costs among distribution providers.
At present, some DTH and cable providers are able to get lower rates for pay channels from channel owners, which has affected the ability of the rest of the providers to compete effectively in the market.
So far, the biggest DTH player in India, Tata Sky, has not even revealed its TRAI-compliant plans to consumers yet.
However, the company did win a temporary reprieve from the regulator till January 10 after TRAI’s lawyer assured the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal that the regulator will not impose any fines or punishment on Tata Sky till January 10, when a case related to the new tariffs is scheduled to come up before the Tribunal.
The next milestone for cable and DTH providers is January 14, or Monday, by when they are supposed to have reached out to 60% of their subscribers to know their preferences under the new plans.
Yesterday, TRAI made it clear that it was not going to extend the timeline and that all parties must comply with the guidelines by the Jan 31 deadline.
In its update yesterday, TRAI also asked consumers “not to wait for the last moment” to make the switch, but to act now.
Meanwhile, non-cooperation and lack of readiness on part of cable and DTH providers has caused confusion and anger among consumers, who are worried that they may not be able to switch in time.
You can also find a full list of all channel packs and prices here.