Compare NCF Charges: Airtel DTH, Tata Play, Dish TV and D2H

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what are ncf charges

NCF stands for Network Capacity Fee, and it refers to the cost charged by DTH service providers for the network capacity utilized by subscribed channels. Each DTH provider, including Airtel DTH, Tata Play, Dish TV, and D2H, have different NCF structures, leading to influencing the overall cost. Join us as we explore the world of NCF charges and figure out what's best for your DTH subscription.

What are NCF charges?

The Network Capacity Fee (NCF) is the fee charged by the DTH provider to the subscriber. The number of channels added to the DTH subscription by the customer influences the NCF price. It is a fixed cost that subscribers pay to cover the basic infrastructure and network maintenance expenses. This fee is separate from the charges for individual channels or channel packs that you may choose.

What are NCF charges across DTH providers?

All DTH providers such as Tata Play, Dish TV, d2h, Airtel DTH, and Sun Direct charge Network Capacity Fee according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)guidelines. Find the complete details of NCF charges derived from the DTH operators for the first as well as second connection are listed below (Prices include taxes).

DTH ProvidersFirst ConnectionSecond Connection
No.of ChannelsUp to 200 ChannelsAbove 200 ChannelsUp to 200 ChannelsAbove 200 Channels
Tata Play DTH₹ 153.4₹ 188.8₹ 61.36₹ 75.52
Airtel DTH₹ 153.4₹ 188.8₹ 61.36₹ 75.52
Dish TV₹ 153.4₹ 188.8₹ 61.36₹ 75.52
Videocon d2h₹ 153.4₹ 188.8₹ 61.36₹ 75.52
Sun Direct DTH₹ 153.4₹ 188.8₹ 61.36₹ 75.52

Are the NCF charges same for SD and HD channels?

Whether you're watching television on a standard or high-definition TV, you have the option to mix channels. When this is the case, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) count is slightly different. For every SD channel, consider 1 HD channel as 2 SD channels.

Let's take a scenario and go through the concept:

  • User 1 has opted for 150 SD channels and will be charged Rs 146.40.
  • User 2 opted for 200 SD channels and 50 HD channels, so the total NCF cost will be 167.40.\
  • User 3 has opted for 150 SD channels and 75 HD channels. They will be charged Rs 183.80 each month as per the NCF norms.

How are NCF charges calculated, and what is their significance?

NCF charges are calculated based on the number of channels a subscriber adds to their DTH or cable TV account. They consist of fixed fees for the first set of channels and variable fees for additional channels. The aim of NCF charges is to ensure transparent billing and equitable pricing for viewers' chosen channels, while maintaining the integrity of the broadcasting network.

The calculation of NCF charges involves two primary components: fixed fees and variable fees. The fixed fee is the base cost for the first 100 channels in your subscription. Beyond this, variable fees come into play for additional channels. The variable fee is determined by the DTH provider and varies from one provider to another.

Why are NCF charges applicable? They play a crucial role in maintaining a transparent and equitable pricing structure. By breaking down the costs into fixed and variable components, providers aim to offer flexibility in channel selection while ensuring fair pricing for all subscribers.

What are NCF charges in DTH?

The DTH operator imposes the NCF charge on subscribers. The calculation of the NCF cost depends on the number of channels a subscriber chooses for on their DTH account. In the case of a package comprising 200 channels, TRAI has assigned an NCF fee of Rs 130 per month (excluding 18 percent GST). If a subscriber has included more than 200 channels, the NCF charge increases to Rs 160 per month (excluding 18 percent GST). This selection of channels includes both free-to-air (FTA) and paid channels.

  • Tata Play: With a fixed fee for the first 100 channels and additional variable charges for more channels, Tata Play's NCF charges align with the industry standard.
  • Dish TV: Dish TV offers a tiered system where NCF charges increase for every slab of 25 additional channels, allowing subscribers to optimize their Dish TV channel selection.
  • Airtel Digital TV: Airtel's NCF charges mirror Tata Play's approach, encouraging viewers to select Airtel channels thoughtfully.

When exploring DTH and cable TV providers, the NCF charges can vary even further. It's advisable to inquire about NCF caps, service-specific fees, and the flexibility of adding or removing channels.

How are NCF charges applied by DTH providers?

Suppose a customer has chosen to acquire a fresh primary DTH connection via Tata Play. The minimum NCF charge payable to Tata Play amounts to Rs 130, with an additional 18 percent GST, summing up to Rs 153.40 per month. 

This payment grants them access solely to free-to-air (FTA) channels, encompassing a selection that encompasses Doordarshan, a limited assortment of news, entertainment, and movie channels which may not be widely popular.

Next, the customer can add more channels to their DTH account. Tata Play offers two choices - Tata Play Packs, Add-ons, and regional packs. When these pay channels are added to the existing pack with free-to-air channels, the total number of channels becomes 200. As a result, the customer needs to pay a network capacity fee of Rs 153.40 (including 18 percent GST) along with the charges for the selected pay channels.

After a month, the customer expresses the desire to include Star Sports channels to enjoy live cricket broadcasts. This action makes the total channel count to 201, surpassing the initial tier. Consequently, the customer is subject to a charge of Rs 188.80 (Rs 160 + 18 percent GST), in addition to the costs of the chosen pay channels.

If you're wondering about the NCF charge for DTH secondary connections, here's the breakdown. TRAI has set lower NCF rates for subscribers with secondary connections, as detailed below:

  • For channel counts below 200, the company will levy Rs 52 (Rs 61.36 including taxes).
  • Should the subscriber opt for more than 200 channels, the operator will impose a charge of Rs 64 (Rs 75.52 including taxes).

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How to reduce NCF charges without compromising?

While NCF charges are unavoidable, there are smart strategies to minimize their impact without sacrificing your entertainment experience.

  • Opt for curated channel packs: Many DTH providers offer curated packs with discounted rates, helping you access popular channels without incurring high variable charges.
  • Optimize your channel selection: Regularly review your subscribed channels and remove those you no longer watch. This can help you stay within the 100-channel cap.
  • Bundle similar channels: Group together channels of the same genre to maximize your selection while minimizing variable charges.

By applying these strategies, you can enjoy a diverse range of channels without the burden of excessive NCF charges.

How do regulatory shifts affect NCF charges?

The landscape of NCF charges has seen regulatory shifts that impact both providers and consumers. Regulatory authorities have introduced caps on NCF charges, limiting the amount providers can levy for additional channels. While this benefits consumers, providers have had to adjust their pricing structures to remain compliant.

Impact on consumers: Regulatory changes have led to more competitive pricing, enabling subscribers to access a wider array of channels without incurring exorbitant NCF charges.

Hidden costs can be a concern when it comes to NCF charges. While providers are transparent about their pricing, additional costs might arise from add-ons, HD channels, or specific services like DVR functionality.

How to address hidden costs: Always review your billing statement and inquire about any additional charges beyond NCF. Clear communication with the provider can help you stay informed and avoid unexpected costs.

In Conclusion:

Understanding NCF charges is crucial for making informed decisions about your DTH subscription. By grasping the components, calculations, and significance of NCF charges, you empower yourself to navigate the world of DTH with confidence. Whether it's comparing charges, optimizing channel selection, or adapting to regulatory changes, your knowledge of NCF charges will be your guide to a cost-effective and enriching entertainment experience.

NCF Charges: Frequently Asked Questions

How is my NCF Slab calculated?

Your Network Capacity Fee (NCF) is calculated based on the sum of the NCF counts for subscribed channels, of which Standard Definition (SD) channels have an NCF count of 1 and High Definition (HD) channels have an NCF count of 2.

What is NCF & how is it charged?

This subscription contains two elements. The Network Capacity Fee (NCF) is a one-time fee to rent our capacity. We also offer pay channels with their own pricing structure.

Primary box: If a distributor wants to charge their subscribers for network capacity, they need to pay a 'Network Capacity Fee' of Rs. 144 per month plus taxes (or Rs. 167.28 including taxes).

Distributors can charge Rs.188.80 (+ taxes) per month for more than 200 NCF's, or Rs.160 (+ taxes) per month for less than 200 NCF's and include HD channels as part of the subscription plan at 2x the number of SD channels.

How can I remove NCF charges in D2h?

To remove the default 'basic package', Dish TV or D2H customers need to click on the 'Basic Service Tier' link (see picture below) and then proceed to delete channels they don't want.