Decoder prices fall as more pay-TV importers join market

A viewer browses through TV channels. With new decoder importers on the market, it is anticipated Ugandans will begin enjoying services without having to monthly subscription fees. COURTESY PHOTO

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No charges. Regulatory body says price fall is because the government has opened up the sector to enable customers benefit.

Kampala. The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has said the current price war among pay-TV companies has been caused by new players in the decoder importation business.
Currently, most pay-TV companies have cut their decoder prices in what is assumed to be a stock clearing move.
In an interview last week, Mr Fred Otunnu, the UCC corporate communications manager, said government has opened up the decoder importation market because it is not planning to import set top boxes (decoders), but it has created mechanisms for the private sector to import the decoders and compete with other pay-TV service providers.
“Government divested Uganda Broadcasting Corporation and created a new company, Signet, to distribute signals to level the ground for the pay-TV market,” he said, adding that currently, decoders which carry all the free-to-air channels are available in the open market at Shs150, 000.
According to Mr Umar Lwasa Namansa, the chairperson Uganda Pay TV Association, most of the pay-TV companies operating in Uganda have been taking advantage of the ignorance of Ugandans to charge them monthly subscription fees because most of the channels they claim to pay for, are available through satellite but just require decoders which can pick the signals from the satellite.
“You do not need to pay monthly subscription fees. We have been asking these people to bring decoders installed with Wi-Fi, but they are hesitant,” he said.
He said with such decoders, there would be no need to buy internet bundles from mobile phone companies, adding that even a country such as Sudan, uses such technology and the audiences are not paying monthly subscription fees.
Uganda’s pay television is highly lean, to the extent that the three million television set owners, are still on analogue.

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