The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) has issued the two television broadcasting licences under the Subscription Management Service (SMS) category to Mediacore and Star Times Satellite.
Through the licence, the two applicants, who will be competing with Dstv, would be allowed to provide consumers access to broadcasting content that is packaged and transmitted by another broadcasting entity.
Speaking during a handover ceremony in Gaborone yesterday, BOCRA chief executive officer Thari Pheko said under the SMS the broadcasting entity providing content need not operate from Botswana.
“I liken Subscription Management Service licence category to an entity that sells a form of organised airtime to enable consumers to access a service.
“Today’s event marks the first Subscription Management licences to be issued by BOCRA and it is a culmination of a lot of work behind the scenes,” he said.
He added that the licence reflects a balance of regulatory requirement and market realities adding that they are also working on licensing of other television categories as part of their scope to ensure growth of the broadcasting landscape in Botswana.
Currently, there are two televisions stations in the country namely, Btv and e-tv in addition to the pay per view Multichoice.
“We have issued public notices inviting applications for satellite television, digital terrestrial television and indeed subscription management service. Broadcasting regulations continue to be imperative with the advent of cheaper platforms that allow service providers to easily enter the broadcasting market,” Pheko said. Further he said that as BOCRA, their responsibility is to provide a conducive environment for
He said the broadcasting sector is yet to reach a level of growth and development that satisfies them as a regulator.
In addition Pheko said through their strategic plan, they aspire to promote competition by increasing the number of operators in a bid to promote better quality of services, diversity of services and most importantly affordable pricing of services for the consumers.
Mediacore partner, Yokow Quansah said the licence was overdue as they have been looking for an opportunity to do something new that would transform the local television industry.
“When the opportunity came, we embraced it because we feel that there is a lot of talent in the country,” he said, “but [we] feel that there are shortage of opportunities that allows the local talent to showcase their abilities thus grow the industry”.
Star Times Satellite chief executive officer, Valente Chicole was excited at being able to offer a viable alternative to the satellite TV viewing adding that in Africa they have around 10 million subscribers.
“Our aim is to incorporate local film productions into our platform thereby contributing to the empowerment of small production houses in Botswana and putting the country in the world map,” he said.
Star Times currently operates in Mozambique, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Tanzania offering channels ranging from sports, movies, news to music.