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Thursday 8th June, 2023


Tribunal To Rule On MultiChoice Price Increase July 25



The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, adjourned ruling in the matter between an Abuja-based lawyer, Festus Onifade, Coalition of Nigerian Consumers, and pay TV service provider,  MultiChoice Nigeria, Limited, till Monday.

At the hearing, MultiChoice asked the tribunal to decline to hear the suit challenging the increase of the subscription fees for its television services on grounds of jurisdiction.

Onifade and the Coalition of Nigeria Consumers had dragged MultiChoice, the operators of DStv and GOtv platforms, to the Tribunal following the announcement by the company in March 2022, that the subscription rates for the various bouquets on its platforms will go up on 1 April 2022.

In the suit in which the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council is the second defendant, Onifade prayed the tribunal for an order restraining MultiChoice from increasing the subscription rates for its services and other products pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated and filed on March 30.

The claimant also asked the Tribunal to make an order directing MultiChoice to adopt pay -as- you- view subscription model for its pay-TV services.

The Tribunal had in its ruling on the ex-parte application on 30 March directed the parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the whole suit.

Onifade had during the hearing of the suit on  April 11, indicated that he had filed a written address and contempt proceedings against MultiChoice for allegedly disregarding the tribunal’s order not to increase its subscription rates made on March 30.

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At the resumed hearing of the suit on Thursday, the tribunal took all pending applications.

Key was the application by MultiChoice challenging the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to hear the suit.

Barrister Jamiu Agoro, counsel to the pay television service provider, argued that the Tribunal cannot hear the suit because, by Section 47 of its Act, it can only listen to appeals on matters that have been decided on by the FCCPC.

Agoro argued that if the claimant feels aggrieved by the decision of MultiChoice, he should have approached the FCCPC with his grievance.

He added that it is after the Commission has ruled on the matter that he can approach the Tribunal if he is not satisfied with the ruling.

Agoro also argued that the application for contempt filed against it by Onifade is incompetent because it was not personally served on the company.

The company also argued that the preservative order was made on  30 March 2022 when the order it ought to preserve had already been perfected and completed.

It, therefore, said “granting the application will set a dangerous precedent that a party could be penalized for an order already completed.”

The company also argued that it cannot be held in contempt for an order which it has already asked the Tribunal to set aside.

While disagreeing with the submissions of MultiChoice lawyer, Onifade urged the Tribunal to grant requests of the claimants to preserve its integrity and engender confidence in consumers across the country about its capability to protect them.

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However, the Tribunal was forced to adjourn as the MultiChoice lawyer said he is not ready to reply to the originating summons filed by the claimant.

Agoro had told the Tribunal that he thought only the various applications were scheduled for hearing on Thursday.

But the three-member tribunal headed by Thomas Okosun said there was an order for counsels to the parties to argue on all the applications and the originating summons at Thursday’s hearing.

Consequently, the Tribunal said its ruling/decision on the applications taken on Thursday, will be contained in the judgment to be delivered in the case after an argument on the originating summons that was adjourned to Monday, 25 July, 2022.


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MultiChoice, Rapyd And General Catalyst Launch Moment For Integrated Payment In Africa



Pay-TV group MultiChoice Group, Rapyd and General Catalyst have announced a joint venture aimed at developing an integrated payment platform for Africa.

The joint venture will operate under a new company called Moment.

Moment will consolidate the USD 3.5 billion in payments that the MultiChoice Group processes annually to expand options for subscribers and make payment processes efficient, as well as extend the payment network to African and global businesses.

Moment offers expanded payment infrastructure for businesses across Africa to help them collect and make payments easier, quicker, and more affordable in any manner that their buyers or suppliers prefer.

The new company will also offer additional options for consumers to spend and save money. The aim is to transform the African payments landscape by making digital payments more accessible and reliable for domestic, cross-border, and global payments, according to Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice Group CEO.

MultiChoice said the long-term plan is to provide the infrastructure for pan-African payments for the 44 million small businesses operating on the continent.

It is also to turn 90 per cent of retail transactions that are currently taking place in cash into digital payments.

Moment aims to make digital transactions more accessible to the 350 million consumers that are underbanked or not banked at all.

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Price Hikes: Don’t Blame DStv, Blame Our Government



A DStv package....................... Photo Credit: Chris Kehinde Nwandu Facebook page

By Chris Kehinde NWANDU

Early this morning, I woke up to see a text message from DStv. I thought it was their usual message informing subscribers of new programmes but alas what I saw almost totally ruined my day.

A sample of the message sent to DStv Premium subscribers’ decoders reads: “Dear Customer, due to rising costs of business operations, please note that from May 1, your monthly subscription (Premium) will be N24,500. To retain your old price of N21,000 for up to 12 months ensure you are active by April 30.”

The new regime will also see the price of the Compact+ bouquet move to N16,600 from N14,250 monthly. Subscribers on the Compact bouquet will, under the new price regime, pay N10,500 as against N9,000, with those on Confam set to pay N6,200 as against N5,300. Those on DStv Yanga and Padi will pay N3,500 and N2,500 respectively as against N2,950 and N2,150.

On the GOtv service, subscribers on the GOtv Supa package will pay N6,400 as against N5,500, with those on GOtv Max paying N4,850 as against N4,150. GOtv Jolli subscribers are due to start paying N3,300 as against N2,800, with the tariffs on GOtv Jinja and GOtv Lite also rising from N1,900 to N2,250 and N900 to N1,100 respectively.

To cushion the effect of the price review, MultiChoice Nigeria, as usual, has made a price lock offer to subscribers, who renew their subscriptions before their due dates. The offer allows customers to pay the old rates for 12 months if they pay monthly before the expiration of their subscriptions. Similarly, it grants subscribers, who pay for one year at a go, before the new prices kick in, the opportunity to pay the old tariffs.

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My immediate reaction was to downgrade my DStv bouquets immediately after the current subscription lapses. I have two different DSTV decoders at home and I have been managing my payments monthly because (I am not a lover of dual view).

Who is thinking of paying for an increased subscription in this Buhari/Emefiele era, I asked myself. To me, that was insensitive on the part of DStv. Haba! Kilode?

But on second thought, I asked myself some pertinent questions: what if Nigeria has not experienced a price increase in the past year? A loaf of bread that costs about N500 last year is now between N1000-N1,200, same with staple food like rice, beans, yam, and even our own ‘pure’ water, all have hit the roof.

You may call DStv a luxury product, but I am aware that even Startimes increased its subscription recently too.

The new prices, which took effect on 14 April, will see StarTimes Basic bouquet customers on DTT (antenna) pay N2,100 monthly, as against the previous sum of N1,850, while customers on its Classic bouquet will pay N3,100 monthly as against the previous N2,750 tariff. The price of the Nova bouquet also went up from N900 to N1,200.

The company’s subscribers using DTH (Dish) are similarly affected, with the tariff on the Smart bouquet rising to N2,800 per month from N2,600, while the Super bouquet will now attract a monthly tariff of N5,300 as opposed to N4,900. The Nova bouquet has its tariff raised to N1,200 from N900.

StarTimes explained that the price review had to be made because of suffocating economic conditions, to which it had to respond to ensure it is able to continue providing the level of service to which its subscribers are accustomed.

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The GSM companies have in the past months increased their call tariffs and data cost. Abi una no dey notice how data dey finish immediately after you’ve recharged? Petrol cost is on the rise, Diesel is now  N1000 per litre.  Discos now increase the cost of electricity monthly despite giving us perpetual darkness.

The airlines are finding it difficult to cope. A one-hour trip has jumped from under N50,000 to almost N100,000 ( an increase of almost 100% ) within one year. And we have a government that is not only insensitive but totally disconnected from the people.

Many companies in Nigeria are at the point of total collapse or have folded up entirely. It is suicidal for anyone to run a business in Nigeria these days.

Where are all the other Companies that went into Pay Tv in Nigeria like DStv? They have all folded up. We may blame DStv for its monopoly when it comes to content, but have they stopped other companies from buying the same elsewhere?

A Nigerian company once got the license to broadcast the Premiership at a time. Where is the company today? It folded up within one year. Every company is out to make a profit.

In as much as I will not justify a monthly increase in price as being done in other sectors, let us also look at the hostile environment these companies operate in. If we can have just stable electricity as we have in South Africa, Ghana and other countries, our ease of doing business will be enhanced.

I’ll not blame DStv rather, we should be blaming our government which has practically crippled all businesses due to its lack of vision and terrible economic policies. Let them also create an enabling environment for other companies to come into the sector, who knows, healthy competition as we have it in the telecom sector may also bring down these costs.

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Which company will survive in Nigeria generating power for its use 90% of the time? I’ve not spoken about multiple taxation o or even the rising rate of the Naira to the dollar. This has led to several companies closing shops and relocating to other African countries.

While I urge DStv to look at the request for pay-as-you-view as being advocated by Nigerians, I still think this has been taken care of by its flexible bouquets because with as little as N3,000 monthly, you can watch DStv. It has even gone further to create a more pocket-friendly platform called Gotv, which goes for as little as N1,500 monthly subscriptions.

For me, I’ll start cutting my coat according to my cloth, not my size. It shall be well with Nigeria.

***Chris Kehinde Nwandu is a Journalist, Law Graduate and UK Certified Arbitrator

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ITU Approves Report On Preparatory Studies For WRC-23



ITU Member States have approved a major report on the technical, operational, and regulatory materials for the preparation of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23), according to a news report in IT-Online.

The report summarises and analyses the results of extensive technical studies conducted by members of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector, as well as possible solutions to satisfy WRC-23 agenda items.

The report was approved at the conclusion of the 2nd session of the Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM23-2) held in Geneva last week.

“The global management of radio frequency spectrum and associated satellite orbits is at the heart of ITU’s strategic goals to achieve universal connectivity and sustainable digital transformation,” says ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin.

“With the uptake of innovative digital services accelerating worldwide, it is critical that we ensure they are secure, reliable, affordable, and accessible, especially to the 2.7 billion people around the world who remain offline.”

The CPM Report represents a major step in the preparations for WRC-23 which will be held in Dubai from 20 November to 15 December 2023.

The key issues highlighted during the two-week meeting include:

  • Identification of additional frequency bands for the continued development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), including the use of high-altitude platform stations as IMT base stations for the universal deployment of wireless networks.
  • Improvements to the international regulatory framework for geostationary orbit (GSO) and non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites while promoting equitable access for all countries.
  • Use of satellite technologies for broadband services to improve connectivity, particularly in remote areas.
  • New spectrum to enhance radiocommunications in the aeronautical mobile service, including by satellite, and facilitate the use of Space Research and Earth exploration-satellite services for climate monitoring, weather prediction and other scientific missions.
  • The modernisation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).
  • Regulatory framework for the use of earth stations in motion on board aircraft and ships for communication with the geostationary orbit (GSO) and non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites.
  • The future of the ultra-high frequency (UHF) broadcasting band which has implications for television broadcasts, programme-making and special events, as well as public protection and disaster relief.
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Over 1 900 participants from 125 ITU Member States attended CPM23-2. Also in attendance were representatives from ITU Radiocommunication Sector Members, as well as delegates from various United Nations agencies and international organisations.

“The discussions and consensus achieved during CPM23-2 will pave the way to a successful world radiocommunication conference,” says Mario Maniewicz, director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau.

“The outcomes of WRC-23 will have a tremendous impact on the development of innovative, futuristic radiocommunication services that enable secure, faster, and seamless global communications for all.”

Cindy-Lee Cook, the chairperson of CPM23-2, adds: “I am delighted that we have finalised this significant milestone in the preparations for WRC-23 despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic from the start of the preparatory process.

“During the four-year study period, we experienced first-hand how essential digital connectivity is. This highlights the importance of the work we do to find new and innovative ways to provide broadband connectivity using terrestrial and space-based communication technologies.”

World radiocommunication conferences, held every three to four years, review and revise the ITU Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum, including satellite orbits.

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