India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) has released its official DTH subscriber numbers for 2016 and they confirm earlier reports that growth is slowing.
However, the overall numbers are still substantial. TRAI says that 2016’s core DTH subscriber base grew from 84.8 million (end of 2015) to 97.05 million (December 31st 2016), an increase of 14.45 per cent. But strip out the ‘inactive’ numbers and count only ‘active’ subscribers and the numbers soften considerably, from 55.98 million at the end of 2015 to 62.65 million at the end of 2016, an increase of 11.91 per cent.
TRAI’s disappointment is down to India’s now widespread adoption of all-digital and addressable set-top boxes, and is echoed by the DTH industry which had expected to win a larger proportion of these digital homes. Some 42 million analogue cable homes were converted to digital during Phase IV of the nation’s digital switch-over.
Some 6.67 million net new DTH subscribers were added by operators with 4.65 million were mopped up by the sectors 3 larger operators (Airtel DTH, Dish TV and Videocon DTH).
More recent publicly-available data from listed companies shows that the decline in new subscribers continues. Just 532,000 net new additions were added during Q1 this year which is well down on the 1.709 million added during the same period in 2016.