StarTimes is expanding its market in East Africa. The company has recently launched a DVB-T2 capable decoder in Uganda. The decoder which retails at Ush 90,000 is targeted at snatching more viewers from South African pay-TV giant, DSTV, with their GOTV offering.
With the decoder, StartTimes offer Basic subscription package of 35 channels costs Ush15,000 /month, Classic package of 45 channels at Ush30,000 and theUnique package of 52 channels at Ush45,000.
South African pay-TV giant Multichoice with its GOtv decoders target the same lower and middle income segment targeted by StarTimes by offering 18 channels for Ush139,000 and 23 channels for Ush154,000.
StarTimes launched in the Ugandan market in 2010. It currently has up to 52 channels with a choice of different bouquets.
Uganda has banned the importation and sale of DVB-T1 decoders in May. According to Simon Arineitwe, StarTimes Country Manager in Uganda, the provider is planning to replace all the DVB-T1 decoders in the country at no extra cost to the subscribers.
Few days ago, pay-TV subscribers in the country exerted pressure on the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) pushing StarTimes to stop selling the DVB-T1 decoders.
A consumer lobby group, Uganda Consumer Protection and Awareness Association (UCPAA), accused the Chinese owned StarTimes of dumping low quality decoders in the country. DVB-T2 is preferred over the previous DVB-T1 because it has the capacity to carry more TV traffic leading to better spectrum utilisation.
With over two million analogue TV sets, Uganda is a key market for digital TV services providers. StartTimes country manager for Uganda put the total number of their subscribers to date in Uganda at over 100,000. GOTV also has close or more than 100,000 clients in Tanzania according to sources within the company.
GOTV which is also having a presence Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana has always sold DVB-T2 decoders in Uganda.
According to Naspers website, (Multichoice parent company) the premium pay-TV provider now has over 1,630,447 subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa