Johannesburg – The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa announced on Friday it has awarded Multichoice and e.tv licences to provide mobile television services.
pay-TV subsidiary Multichoice will have access to 60% of the multiplex (or signal package) designated for mobile TV, and e.tv 40%.
According to the licence regulations, the service providers have to use all the available capacity assigned to them within 12 months after the licence has been awarded. It is anticipated that the two groups will officially receive their licences next week.
On April 16, the authority published its first invitation to apply (ITA) for a part of this signal package. Icasa received applications from Multichoice, Mobile TV Consortium, Super5Media and e.tv.
Icasa chairperson Stephen Mncube said the first three applications were disqualified for failing to comply with the preliminary requirements, and e.tv was therefore further evaluated.
On May 28, the authority published another ITA for the rest of the signal package. It received two applications by the closing date from Super5Media and Multichoice, but according to Mncube Super5Media later withdrew.
Icasa is required to conduct an auction for the successful bidders, but as there was no competition for the two licences it was unable to do so.
In 2005, MultiChoice began a mobile TV trial service under a test licence from Icasa. DStv Mobile is free at this stage and offers channels like CNN, SuperSport and Cartoon Network.
Fin24.com and Multichoice are part of the Naspers group of companies.