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Inactive DTH subscribers shrink dramatically in TRAI’s new report

MUMBAI: The total inactive subscriber base of the six private direct-to-home (DTH) operators shrank dramatically for the quarter ended 31 December 2015 due to the change in methodology of reporting active subscribers by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The inactive subscriber base shrank to 28.82 million for the quarter ended 31 December. In the previous quarter, the inactive subscriber base as reported by TRAI stood at 40.42 million. The data is based on the information submitted by DTH operators through quarterly performance monitoring reports (PMR).

The total registered DTH subscriber base increased to 84.8 million from 81.47 million in the previous quarter. The active subscriber base climbed to 55.98 million from 41.05 million in the trailing quarter.

This means that active subscribers are about 66% of the total DTH subscriber base compared to 50.39% in the previous quarter ended 30 September. The inactive subscriber, which was at an all-time high of 49.61%, fell to 34%.

The sudden jump in the net active subscriber base can be attributed to the fact that the active subscriber data includes the number of temporarily suspended subscribers who have been inactive for not more than 120 days.

TRAI is using this criterion for the first time to report active DTH subscribers. “The period after which a DTH subscriber is considered inactive is different for different DTH operators. Earlier, the regulator was reporting active subscriber data as per the criterion of different DTH operators,” a senior TRAI official told

The regulator has now streamlined the process of reporting data by having a uniform criterion for all DTH operators.

As per the TRAI report, the total DTH subscriber addition during the December quarter was 3.33 million.

During the same period, the two listed DTH operators, Dish TV and Videocon d2h, added 400,000 and 430,000 net subscribers, according to their third quarter of FY16 earnings announcement. Airtel Digital TV, which is part of Bharti Airtel, added 530,000 net subscribers. Reliance Digital TV had added 100,000 subscribers. It did not reveal whether it reported net or gross subscribers.

At present, apart from the free DTH service of Doordarshan, there are six private DTH operators, namely Dish TV, Tata Sky, Sun Direct, Reliance Digital TV, Videocon d2h and Airtel Digital TV.

As per the performance indication report, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) had permitted 847 private satellite TV channels for uplinking-only/downlinking/uplinking, as on 31 December.

Pay channels

There were 262 pay TV channels at the quarter ended December 2015. There were 254 pay channels as reported by the broadcasters as on 30 September 2015. During the quarter ended 31 December 2015, 13 new pay channels were reported, four channels were reported to be discontinued, and one channel was converted from pay to FTA.


As on 31 December 2015, 372 MSOs had been granted provisional registration by the MIB for providing cable TV services through digital addressable systems.


Apart from the radio stations operated by the government-owned All India Radio, there are 243 operational private FM radio stations as on 31 December 2015. This is as per the information available on the website of MIB.

As per data received from the MIB, as on 31 December 2015, out of the 237 community radio licences issued so far, 190 stations are operational.

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