DTH adds 2.08 mn subscribers in Q1: Trai

MUMBAI: With five private direct-to-home (DTH) operators competing for the subscriber, the total DTH subscriber base has crossed the 15 million mark in India, posing a serious threat to digital cable TV.

As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai)‘s ‘Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicator Report‘ for the quarter ended 30 June 2009, the total number of registered subscribers being served by these private DTH operators had soared to 15.17 million by June end this year.

DTH is, thus, growing at 15.89 per cent quarter-on-quarter. According to Trai, India had 13.09 million registered DTH subscribers on 31 March this year.


Cable TV operators, on the other hand, have marginally increased the seeding of set-top boxes (STBs) in the Cas areas of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai during this period. According to Trai, the total number of STBs installed increased to 816,192 in the quarter ended June 2009, up 5.99 per cent as compared to 770,053 STBs in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, Trai has also released the data on the number of pay-TV channels in India till 30 June. As per the sector watchdog‘s report based on the data received from 24 broadcasters/distributors across the country, there are 136 pay channels in India.

There are a maximum of 166 free-to-air (FTA) and 124 pay channels carried in any particular cable network, as reported by the multi-system operators (MSOs) to the sector regulator.

Interestingly, the maximum number of channels being carried by any of the reported MSO in digital mode is 262. In analogue form, however, the maximum number of channels being carried by any of the reported MSOs is 100 channels.

In the radio business, apart from All India Radio, there are 248 operational private FM Radio stations across India, said Trai. In the three months from April to June, only three FM channels were launched.

Trai said that no new community radio station came into operation in the quarter, while seven new licenses were given out. In the previous quarter that ended on 31 March, there were 67 community radio station licensees, out of which 41 were operational. Meanwhile, a total of 469 requests were received by the government for the same as of 30 June this year.

Internet subscriber base reached 14.05 million at the end of June 2009 as compared to 13.54 million at the end of March 2009 registering a growth of 3.80 per cent. This growth rate is lower as compared to that of the quarter ended March 2009 (5.30 per cent).

Meanwhile, the number of broadband subscribers was 6.62 million at the end of June as compared to 6.22 million at the end of March 2009, registering a growth of 6.43 per cent over the previous quarter. The share of broadband subscribers increased to 47 per cent from previous quarter‘s 46 per cent of the total subscriber base.

The Average Revenue Per User (Arpu) for dial-up internet subscribers increased by 2.97 per cent on quarterly basis to Rs 243.50 for the quarter ended June last.

Interestingly, out of the 2.39 million internet subscribers added during the period June-08 to June-09, 2.24 million are broadband subscribers (94 per cent of the net additions).

Trai also mentioned in the report that the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has retained its top position with 54.09 per cent and a subscriber base of 7.60 million internet subscribers at the end of June 2009 against 7.26 million at the end of last quarter.

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