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TRAI Considers Bringing DTH Portability; Issues & Implications

Telecom regulatory authority of India, TRAI, is planning to introduce portability to DTH set top boxes, DNA reports. If its suggestion goes through, competition will heighten amongst players as consumers will be free to switch between providers without needing to buy or install a new set top box.  However, there are many questions that arise from such a decision. For one, if interoperability is enforced, who will have to pay for the change in the set top boxes (STB) - The consumer or the DTH players? And if a standard for STBs is defined, who will benefit? Will Portability Cost Consumers? Last year, the suggestion to make STBs interoperable was vehemently opposed by Dish TV, reported Business Standard. Dish TV and Tata Sky offer set top boxes with MPEG2 video compression while Airtel's Digital TV and Reliance's Big TV offer MPEG4, a more advanced technology. So either Dish & Tata Sky will have to upgrade their STBs or Airtel and Reliance will have to make theirs backwards compatible. If any of the operators will have to phase in new STBs, will subscribers be forced to pay more? If the logic that applies to mobile will be used in case of DTH - it wont work. The connection may be transferrable, but in DTH, portability is about the set top box. Reliance's Dilemma New entrant Reliance had claimed in a comment to a consultation paper by TRAI that losses due to non-recovered STBs and refurbishment costs were burdening it. If it does…

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