THE Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) says that applicants for both pay-TV and radio-broadcasting licences had to cough up R100 000 for their applications to be considered.
The sound licence refers to the availability to tune into radio stations via satellite. This is essentially what DStv’s audio bouquet offers at the moment.
If DStv only applied for a television broadcasting licence, it would cough up R70 000, but for a sound or radio broadcasting licence, R30 000 (the same fee you’d pay for a commercial radio licence).
An application for renewal of a licence at the same cost will have to be paid on a yearly basis. Bruce Mkhize, acting senior manager for licensing and complaints in Icasa’s broadcasting division, said that if the company’s application is approved, it will have to pay a further 1,6% of its turnover for an annual licence fee. Mkhize said that Icasa had received 18 applications, but this list would only be available later on in the week.
Hamza Farooqi, MD for Worldspace, told Moneyweb that it had applied for a satellite radio subscription broadcasting licence to get in line with current legislation.
Worldspace has been operating in SA for the past six or so years, and offers 40 satellite radio channels.
This goes for DStv as well, which broadcasts both sound/radio and television by satellite. made an announcement last week that its sole shareholder, Sabido, had applied for a satellite television subscription broadcasting licence.
Sabido’s majority shareholder is trade union-controlled BEE listed Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI). said that it intends to provide a unique subscription television broadcasting service to middle-income earners in the country who aren’t serviced by DStv. It promises to provide predominantly locally compiled programming service, which includes movies, news, and sports channels.
This isn’t much different to what some of the other applicants are promising. State-owned enterprises Sentech and SABC have formed a strategic partnership to offer pay television at a more affordable rate.
Sentech will provide the infrastructure and technology skills, while SABC will be responsible for content provision.
A surprise applicant, Telkom, announced its interests after fixed- line operator Neotel launched. Its aim is to diversify its interests.
The company has established a new entity, Telkom Media, which has a 41,5% BEE shareholding. Anant Singh’s Videovision Entertainment, Given Mkhari’s MSG Afrika Media and Women Development Bank Invetment Holdings are its partners and will offer both satellite pay TV and cable TV – entertainment, movies, sports, music, education, home shopping and news channels.
On Digital Media, owned by Cosatu’s investment arm Kopano Ke Matla Investment Holdings, has also put in their application, media reports suggest. Moneyweb could not get hold of anybody at Cosatu’s investment arm to confirm this.
Mkhize says that now that Icasa has received the applications, it will publish information and names of applicants, and a public participation process will begin. “Those with interest can come to inspect. And if you want to comment in support or against, you’ll be allowed to do so,” he said.
After that, Icasa will make a decision on who to grant licences to. Mkhize said that there is absolutely no limit to the number of licences that will be issued, and that it hopes this process will be done within 12 months.
“Start-up dates will be negotiated with applicants and will not be imposed,” he said.

Source: Moneyweb – Dikatso Mametse