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Inactive subscribers settle at 34% of 91.53 mn total DTH universe

MUMBAI: Private direct-to-home (DTH) companies have managed to keep their inactive proportion of subscribers under control.

Inactive subscribers have settled at 34% of the total DTH universe for the last three quarters, data provided by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) showed.

This is positive news for the DTH sector. While DTH subscribers have swelled to a new high due to digitisation in Phase III and IV areas, churn has been curtailed. Average revenue per user (ARPU) has also been steadily rising.

According to TRAI’s new data, the number of pay DTH consumers touched 91.53 million in the quarter ended 30 June, representing a 3.26% increase over the trailing quarter’s 88.64 million subscribers.

DTH Subcribers As on 30 june 2016

The total active subscriber base grew 3.36% to 60.50 million from 58.53 million in the quarter ended 31 March.

Inactive subscribers saw a 3.05% increase to 31.03 million during the quarter compared to 30.11 million the previous quarter. This is based on data provided by DTH operators to TRAI.

Quarterly-growth-in-Net-Active-subscribers-(in-million)-of-pay-DTH

Active and inactive subscribers comprised 66% and 34% of the total subscribers during the quarter under review. The percentage of active and inactive subscribers has remained the same in the quarters ended 31 December 2015 and 31 March 2016.

The proportion of active and inactive subscribers used to be in the ratio of almost 50:50. For the quarter ended 30 September 2015, the inactive subscriber base was at an all-time high of 49.61%.

TRAI has changed the criteria for active subscriber data, which now includes the number of temporarily suspended subscribers who have been inactive for not more than 120 days. When TRAI reported the DTH figures for the quarter ended 31 December, it used this new methodology.

Earlier, different DTH operators had different criteria for active subscribers. The move to include temporarily suspended customers in active subscriber data brought uniformity to the exercise. This significantly altered the equation between active and inactive subscribers.

In the quarter ended June 2016, DTH has added 2.89 million subscribers. According to TRAI data, 1.97 active subscribers were added in this three-month period. About 0.92 million inactive subscribers were added during this period.

During the same period, three listed DTH operators added 1.26 million net subscribers. While Dish TV mopped up 402,000 new subscribers, Airtel Digital TV added 424,000 and Videocon d2h 430,000 net subscribers. Reliance Digital TV failed to add subscribers, which remained static at 5 million.

India currently has six pay DTH operators and one free DTH platform owned by Doordarshan called Freedish, which is estimated to have upwards of 20 million users.

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