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Tanzania to send Multichoice off-air for breaching licence terms

The Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority says Multichoice has breached the law by including free to air television channels as part of its services on subscription channels.


The Tanzania government has warned it will suspend all the operating licences issued to pay TV company-Multichoice Tanzania Limited for failing to comply with the law.

The Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), through its Director General James Kilaba, says Multichoice has breached licence conditions which include terms on free-to-air content.

According to TCRA, Multichoice is not supposed to include free-to-air content as part of its subscription content services.

However, the company has continued to sell free-to-air content to viewers as part of its packages despite orders from the authority to stop, the regulator said.

“Whereas on several occasions the authority has required the licensee to abide by the licence conditions, investigation carried out by the authority affirms that Multichoice Tanzania Limited is not complying with the licence conditions by including free to air television channels as part of its services on subscription channels,” TCRA said in a public notice.

“In exercise of its powers, the Authority hereby notifies the general public that it intends to suspend all the licences issued to Multichoice Tanzania Limited for failure to comply with the authority’s orders and failure to comply with licence conditions including failure to exclude free to air television channels from among its subscription channels,” the notice sates.

Mutichoice Tanzania Limited  is a subsidiary  of  South Africa’s Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed firm – Naspers Group, a leading internet and entertainment Group and one of the largest technology investors in the world. 

TCRA renewed Multichoice Tanzania’s licence for provision of subscription content services by satellite in Tanzania on June 15, 2015.

Under the operating licence, Multichoice is not authorized to include free to air television channels as part of its services on subscription channels.

The intension to suspend Multichoice comes barely a fortnight after the regulator also expressed intentions to suspend Star Media Tanzania limited’s (Startimes) broadcasting licenses.

According to TCRA, Startimes had failed to comply with the requirements of their broadcasting licence issued on June 2010, which requires it to provide access to free-to-air content.

“Upon complaints by consumers, the authority carried out an investigation and affirmed that Star Media Tanzania was not complying,” TCRA said in a statement on July 27.

The authority is keen to ensure that the public have access to free-to-air content without having to pay for it.

Source: The Exchange

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