MIB grants 119 new MSO licences between Jan-Oct

MUMBAI: The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has started the clearing the pending multi-system operator (MSO) applications. Between January-October, the ministry has granted 119 new MSO licences. It had granted just one MSO licence in 2018.

As on 24th October, the ministry had granted regular registrations to 1586 MSOs to operate anywhere in India. Two MSOs, Arasu Cable TV Corporation and Godfather Communication, have been granted provisional registrations. The number of cancelled registrations/closed applications stands at 74.

List of 119 new DAS licences granted by MIB

Uttar Pradesh-based Sharma Cable Network was the only company to have received an MSO licence in 2018. Prior to that, new MSO licences were granted in September 2017.

In October 2018, the MIB had stated that it will grant digital addressable system (DAS) licences to MSOs without the security clearance from the ministry of home affairs (MHA). The decision was taken after the Delhi High Court had passed an order in August 2018 directing MIB to process Sharma Cable Network’s application expeditiously.

Sharma Cable Network had moved Delhi HC seeking directions for the MIB to process its DAS licence immediately. The company’s application was kept on hold as the MIB was re-examining the MSO licence policy/guidelines.

In March 2017, the ministry had done away with the practice of issuing provisional registrations. It had further stated all provisional registrations unless cancelled or suspended will henceforth be treated as regular registrations for a period of 10 years. Permanent registrations are valid for a period of 10 years and require security clearance from the MHA while provisional registrations are issued on a temporary basis subject to security clearance from the MHA.

According to the MIB data sourced by TRAI, there are 1471 registered MSOs out of which 1143 are operational. The top 15 MSOs have an active subscriber base of 52.33 million as on 1st April 2019. Siti Networks, DEN Networks, Hathway Digital, GTPL Hathway, and IndusInd Media and Communications Ltd (IMCL) are the top five MSOs in terms of active subscriber base.

Only 14 MSOs have a subscriber base of 1 million+. There are eight MSOs who have 0.5-1 million subscribers. There are 17 MSOs with a subscriber base of 0.3-0.5 million. The country has ten MSOs with 0.2-0.3 million subscribers. As many as 33 MSOs have a subscriber base of 0.1-0.2 million. Further, more than five hundred such MSOs have a subscriber base less than 2500.