The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recently expressed its views about interoperability of set-top-boxes by the end of 2019. When interoperability comes into action, the subscribers of DTH operators will get option to change their service provider without needing to change the set-top-box instrument. Presently, if a subscriber wishes to switch his service provider, then he or she is required to change his set-top-box as well.
As per Trai’s statement, the process will be as simple as sending an SMS, and after that, the customers will be required to fill an application form which will help them to transfer to a new DTH provider without changing their set-top-box.
Trai chairman, RS Sharma said about this, “Trai is scheduled to launch the process for subscribers to shift (or port) to new distribution platform operators (DPOs). We are likely to launch the new portability regime by December this year.”
According to Trai, the new technology for interoperability will rely on a smart card which will store all the operator specific requirements, and all the generic details will be stored in the set-top-box. So, when subscribers make the switch to another DTH service provider, they will only have to change the smart card and not the box itself.
In current scenario if a subscriber thinks to get a new connection they have to pay at least Rs 1,400 to Rs 1,600 to get a new connection, this being one of the reasons why subscribers are avoiding to change their service provider. However, once interoperability equipped set-top-boxes come into implementation, these costs will be cut down as subscribers won’t have to change their set-top-box, but they will only have to pay for the smart card.
However, in last couple of months after the implementation of the new pricing regime by the industry regulator, the authority has been receiving plenty of complaints. To resolve these matters and disputes, Trai has even set up a grievance helpline for the consumers which is already answering around 2,500 customer queries per day.
Sharma also said in this regard, “We have put in about 25 people to answer such calls. There are a lot of problems arising from miscommunication, which we are trying to address and we may increase the number of resources from 25 to about 50 if needed.” He further added to his word, “Keeping subscribers’ interest in mind, Trai has put the set-top-box interoperability on a fast-track. Service providers (DPOs) should understand that only quality services along with competitive fee can sail them through or else the subscribers will easily port to a new service provider.”