The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), the local communications authority, wants new challengers to take on MultiChoice’s dominance in the pay-TV market. The rule of MultiChoice, owners of DStv, has discouraged most from venturing into the sector. On Digital Media and TopTV recently joined the race, but Icasa wants to see more competition.
Issuing invitations, Icasa is set to hand out commercial radio and subscription TV licences. If any recipients successfully launch a new service, it will be the first since TopTV started in 2009. Applicants meeting the criteria will be issued with licences Icasa said. They are not issuing a limited amount.
Sipho Tsotetsi, Icasa’s licensing general manager, says in 2010, when MultiChoice and e.tv received mobile TV licences, some bidders objected. But, for the first time applicants will receive access to both mobile and full TV spectrum, Tsotetsi said.
One consortium called Mobile TV previously applied for a mobile TV broadcasting licence already said they will try again. Mothobi Mutloatse, Mobile TV founder and chairman, said they want to launch pay-TV services and digital radio via digital audio broadcasting (DAB) technology. Analogue FM technology is set to be replaced by DAB in the future. According to Mobile TV, they are ready to start offering pay-TV services.