November 2018


The Supreme Court has emphatically rejected STAR India's appeal against the TRAI tariff order. This ends a long and contentious battle that challenged TRAI's regulatory authority. The entire industry and 12 Crore Pay TV consumers were held back, for almost 2 years. In my reading, the Supreme Court order also restores the 15% cap on a-la-carte channel pricing. Effectively it restores the TRAI's original (3rd March 2017) tariff order, completely. Retail subscribers must be migrated to the new tariffs from 3rd January 2019.

Apparently to conserve foreign exchange, import duty on telecom equipment has been doubled. This compounds the existing liquidity crisis. However, there is more bad news. Compulsory test certification of all imported cable TV products will be required from 1st January, 2019 and for imported broadband products from 1st April, 2019. The certification is time consuming & expensive.

Reliance Industries has bought controlling stakes in Hathway & Den - 2 major MSOs. Reliance is infusing ₹ 5,000 Crores into the 2 companies. This should see technology upgrades as well as sales & installation of superior products on the ground.

The move will finally enable Reliance to deploy wired broadband into consumer homes countrywide. Hathway & Den will probably continue as independent companies, with their existing teams. Their Last Mile Owners will continue their existing relationships with MSOs & consumers. Reliance already owns almost 40 TV channels which have continued to operate autonomously for the past few years. It would be reasonable to assume a similar situation with the MSOs. Reliance may acquire other MSOs in regions where Den & Hathway do not have a presence.

The SCaT India 2018 Trade show received a huge response from both visitors and exhibitors, recording the highest number of footfalls so far.

A Huge Thank You To All!