Regulators

TRAI issues warning against spreading 'fabricated' facts on tariff

Regulator posted on its website MRPs of 332 TV channels

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MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday cautioned stakeholders against spreading “concocted and fabricated facts” against its new tariff directive, while releasing a list of TV channels along with their respective maximum retail prices as per information received from broadcasters.

The TRAI statement insisted that the new tariff regime will bring about more transparency in the eco-system by “separating the network capacity fee and pay channel price” and added any “malpractice” from service providers will compel the regulator to intervene.

Pointing out that a section of the broadcasting and cable industry was creating confusion by insinuating the new tariff regime will increase the monthly cost of consumers for watching television by making inaccurate comparisons, TRAI said comparisons were “skewed” and far from the “market discovered” prices of TV channels.

Though the Pune Cable Operators Association some days back said it’d move the Bombay High Court against TRAI’s new tariff regime as it could hurt LCOs’ earnings as also consumers, the regulator allayed such fears saying comparisons were not based on “reasoned analysis” and the standard interconnect agreements protected the revenue model of LCOs.

Meanwhile, TRAI yesterday also released the maximum retail price of 332 pay channels offered by broadcasters to subscribers.

As per the MRP list released by TRAI, NHK World Premium’s HD version is the costliest TV channel in the group at a stated price of Rs 1,800.

Though most TV channels are running against time to meet the year-end deadline to disclose MRPs and also conclude signing of agreements with distributing platforms, the issue of tariff is unlikely to settle down soon as TRAI itself has filed a petition in the Supreme Court to get clarifications on the issue of 15 per cent cap on discounts on channel pricing.

Star India on Monday was the latest one to announce the new a-la-carte prices for its TV channels and company MD Sanjay Gupta made it clear the organisation would adapt to any new pricing structure if necessitated by a future court ruling.

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