TRAI asks Tata Sky to submit status report on tariff order implementation

TRAI said that it has received a number of complaints from consumers

MUMBAI: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked direct-to-home operator Tata Sky to file a comprehensive status report on the implementation of its new tariff regime. The regulator's direction came after it received complaints from several Tata Sky consumers.

The new regulatory framework puts the power in hands of consumers to pay for channels they want to watch.

According to a PTI report, TRAI also said Tata Sky is misleading its subscribers by suggesting that the regulator has extended the date of implementation of the new regulatory framework.

The regulatory body in its letter to Tata Sky has described this act of the DTH operator as “patently false and misleading ".

TRAI has further stated that it has given consumers time until 31 January to choose television channels, thereby enabling a smooth migration to the new regulatory framework.

According to TRAI, it has received complaints from its subscribers suggesting that Tata Sky has "not made any provision in their system to obtain the choice of subscribers as per the new regulatory framework."

It is important to mention here that a petition filed by Tata Sky against the new tariff order is pending before the Delhi High Court.

Tata Sky’s ongoing court battle with the TRAI and its new tariff regime, in which Bharti Telemedia-owned Airtel Digital TV and Sun Direct are a part, was adjourned by the Delhi High Court on Thursday to January 23 with arguments being inconclusive.

The matter was argued partly by senior lawyer Kapil Sibal on behalf of the direct-to-home operator on Tuesday who focussed on two points of 15 per cent discount cover (or the lack of it) and micromanagement attempt by TRAI of how business should be conducted.

The hearing in the case started at around 2:45 pm and continued till almost 90 minutes during which Sibal argued that with the Madras HC setting aside the 15 per cent discount cap, the main aim of the tariff order had been frustrated and that attempt to micromanage a business, especially moves relating to pricing, etc., some of the provisions of the regulation were not in the interest of the DTH operator, which follows a different cost model compared to MSOs.

The TRAI counsel’s interjection, according to industry sources, was minimal except seeking some technical clarifications relating to issues being argued by the Tata Sky lawyer and the actual content of the writ petition.

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