MIB received 160 MSO applications after notification of new TRAI regulatory framework

15 large MSOs control close to 78 per cent share of the cable TV market

MUMBAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been emphasising on the new tariff order’s role to create a level playing field for smaller MSOs since the beginning. While highlighting the benefits of the new framework for small MSOs, TRAI said that 15 large multi system operators (MSOs) control close to 78 per cent share of the cable TV market. The regulatory body also added that about 160 MSO applications have been received after the notification of the new regulatory framework.

“... only fifteen MSOs (less than 1.5 per cent of total 1100 MSOs) control close to 78 per cent market share among cable TV homes across the country. Such skewed market scenario reflects structural issues in the sector and points to existence of impediments to fair competition,” TRAI shared the information in its White Paper on “Benefits of ‘New Framework’ for Small MSOs”.

The regulatory body further added that such skewed market scenario reflects structural issues in the sector pointing to existence of impediments to fair competition. While discrimination in discounts was one problem in pre tariff era as mentioned by TRAI, many other unreasonable conditions were imposed upon small and medium MSOs.  

Lack of revenue realisation, discriminatory channel prices, restricted area of operation, delay in  provisioning of signals of TV channels, minimum subscription guarantee, no choice in channel or bouquet selection have been mentioned by TRAI as key challenges faced by small MSOs .

While the network capacity fee provides an assured revenue stream to MSOs under the new rule, it also helps them with RIO based non-discriminatory channel prices. Along with these, transparent and non-discriminatory terms, freedom to expand the territory of operation, time-bound provisioning of signals have been noted as major benefits for small MSOs.

“Within three months of the coming into effect of the new Framework, a spurt has been observed in new applications in MIB for registration as MSO. It is understood that about 160 MSO applications have been received after the notification of new regulatory framework out of which 42 applications have been cleared by MIB and remaining are at various stages of process. Proliferation of local MSOs will mean that the consumers will get TV channels and entertainment suited to their local tastes,” TRAI also added.

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