8 August 2018

Tanzania: TCRA Threatens to Freeze DStv, Zuku Licences

TANZANIA Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has threatened to suspend MultiChoice Tanzania and Simbanet licences for airing free to air television channels contrary to governing laws and regulations.

TCRA accused the two for failing to abide by licence stated conditions despite several warnings to not air free to air (FTA) channels as part of their services on subscription channels.

MultiChoice and Simbanet, which trade as Zuku, are not authorised by licence to include free to air television channels as part of services on subscription channels," TRCA said in public notices published yesterday.

The regulator urged that the two despite being ordered to stop including FTA television channels they continued carrying them.

MultiChoice Tanzania Public Relations Manager Johnson Mshana said was aware of the notice issued by the TCRA yesterday but the issues are before Fair Competition Tribunal (FCT).

"We believe the notice is premature since the carriage of FTA services by pay TV operators is currently before the Fair Competition Tribunal," Mr Mshana told the 'Daily News' in an email yesterday.

In June 2016, TCRA started an initiative to suspend free-to-air channels on pay TV services at the end of the month to cut operational costs.

The regulator was offering four FTA channels, but later reversed its decision and frozen the plan. The decision came after the country managed to switch from analogue television signal to digital at the end of 2012 and became the first in mainland Sub-Saharan Africa to do so.

FTA are television and radio services broadcast in clear (unencrypted) form, allowing any person with the appropriate receiving equipment to receive the signal and view or listen to the content without requiring a subscription, other ongoing cost or one-off fee-for instance pay-per-view.

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