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MULTICHOICE, e.tv GRANTED LICENCES

MULTICHOICE and e.tv have been atvarded licences to provide mobileTV in a process that has been clogged with controversy, starting with the shock disqualification of all applicants except e.tv in the first round.
Super 5 Media, MultiChoice’s only competitor in the second round, withdrew its application suddenly late last month amid rumours it was battling financially. No reason was given to the Independent Communication Authority of SA (Icasa). although Super 5 Media allegedly retrenched about 40 staff members a few months ago. It has applied to Icasa for a six-month extension to unveil its pay-TV services.

Icasa chairman Stephen Mncube said last week that MultiChoice has been awarded 60% capacity and e.tv 40% capacity. “E.tv and MultiChoice did not have other competing bidders with respect to the multiplexes they applied for – as a result, the authority has decided to grant the licences to both,” Mr Mncube said.

In terms of the invitation to apply, Icasa is usually required to conduct an auction for the successful bidders.

MultiChoice said on Friday it will confirm an official launch date in due course. “To date, we have already invested R300m in experimentation on mobile broadcast technology and network infrastructure,” MultiChoice CEO Nolo Letele said.

Source: Business Day – Media editor – Chantelle Benjamin