The Monitor :: MultiChoice Should Come To The Party
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Last Updated
Wednesday 19 September 2018, 14:07 pm.
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MultiChoice Should Come To The Party

The decision by the court to grant Botswana Communication Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) the rights to regulate price increases by MultiChoice Botswana is indeed a welcome development.
By Monitor Editor Mon 13 Aug 2018, 11:17 am (GMT +2)
The Monitor :: MultiChoice Should Come To The Party








MultiChoice has been providing pay television or subscription television services in Botswana for years, and one of the major complaints from locals has been their frequent price increase. MultiChoice mostly increases prices annually. The judgment does not any way say that MultiChoice should not increase its subscription prices in Botswana, it simply says, the increase should be regulated.

While MultiChoice does not seem to want to be regulated in terms of its pricing, it was necessary for BOCRA to enforce the clause being challenged, as it is important that they (BOCRA) treat all who fall under them fairly without favouritism.  The clause, which MultiChoice was challenging, is Clause 13 of the licence BOCRA granted MultiChoice Botswana allowing it to operate as a subscription manager in Botswana. The clause stipulates that MultiChoice is required to secure BOCRA’s approval for traffic adjustments in Botswana. The clause is self-explanatory and does not in any way suggest that the Paytv service provider should never increase prices, but it should do so in a reasonable manner.

While it is important for businesses to have a conducive environment under which to operate, it is also extremely important for consumers to be protected, hence the need for bodies like BOCRA, which ensure the balance. MultiChoice cannot expect to operate in sovereign space and not

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abide by the rules and regulations of that country. Let us just think for a moment that BOCRA would allow MultiChoice to pick and choose clauses, which should apply to them, would that same treatment be accorded to all service providers in the country?

And if so, wouldn’t BOCRA now just be a useless body, which is just there for cosmetics? Should BOCRA choose to enforce its mandate selectively, it would create chaos, as many service providers would drag the regulatory body to court for unfair treatment and discrimination.

MultiChoice Africa has threatened to stop providing services in Botswana should it be forced to submit to regulatory jurisdiction.

The threat of course, may scare or rub some members of the public the wrong way as the service provider has been the Paytv of choice for many households for many years, but at the same time it does not mean life will come to a standstill should that happen.

Perhaps this debacle should encourage citizens to look to invest in the Paytv sector.  MultiChoice has enjoyed the monopoly for a very long time, maybe it is high time that other serious players enter the space to give consumers a choice and perhaps create a bit of competition, which will force other service providers to be on their toes.

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Mon 13 Aug 2018, 11:17 am
Mon 06 Aug 2018, 11:21 am
Mon 30 Jul 2018, 11:22 am
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