TRAI to give recommendations on new DTH licence guidelines in January. TRAI to give recommendations on new DTH licence guidelines in January.
“We have received additional comments. We are going through that and formulating the recommendations. I can’t give a committed time-frame but it should be in this month,” TRAI’s principal advisor for broadcasting services, N Parameswaran said on Wednesday.
The existing licences have no provision for an extension or a renewal, implying that at the end of the 10-year period of validity, the permit expires. Presently, there are six pay DTH operators in the country and Dish TV India was the first DTH licencee. The other five pay DTH operators got the wireless operating licence between 2006 and 2008.
The first DTH licence was due to expire on September 30, 2013 but existing guidelines are silent on the course of action to be adopted after expiry of the 10-year licence period.
Consequently, TRAI has started consultation process on October 1 under which it is comprehensively reviewing existing guidelines, including entry fee, and incorporating changes that have come in policies of the government.
As per data available, two leading DTH operators, who are in the DTH business for over 7 years, have paid an annual licence fee of Rs. 112 crores and Rs. 121 crores for 2012-2013.
As on October 1, they had paid Rs. 354 crores and Rs. 372 crores as licence fees to the government.
“Since the entry fee of Rs. 10 crores paid by an existing DTH operator is quite small as compared to its recurrent payment in the form of annual licence fees paid during the licence period… there could be a view that existing DTH operators may not be asked to pay the entry fee again,” TRAI’s consultation paper said.
However, for the sake of parity, entry fee should continue to be levied on new players who are seeking licences, it said.