MultiChoice cuts Zim tariffs as rival Kwese faces court challenge

Harare – Multichoice Zimbabwe has announced a tariff drop for its satellite television platform DStv in response to the possible entry by Kwese TV into the pay television market.

Owned by Zimbabwe telecoms tycoon and Econet CEO Strive Masiyiwa, Kwese TV has launched in South Africa and Botswana as well as other African countries, but is facing court challenges in Zimbabwe.

The licensing case for Kwese TV is back in the Zimbabwean courts after the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe appealed a high court ruling giving the company the green light to roll out its pay television service.

“The Kwese case is back in court. You may complete our registration forms for now and we will contact you for payment once the matter is resolved,” Kwese said in a text message to Econet subscribers this month.

Kwese TV announced its entry into the Zimbabwean market with a promotional subscription rate of $49 that included its premium option, free equipment and installation. By comparison, DStv subscription rates in Zimbabwe cost $72 for the premium option.

MultiChoice has now reduced its Zimbabwean subscription rates: the premium option now costs $65 from $72, while the compact option has dropped from $28 to $25. The company justified the lowering of its subscription rates on economic conditions consumers are facing in Zimbabwe.

“We recognise that our customers are living in tough economic times and would like to alleviate their financial strain by providing them with the best in local and international entertainment at the best possible value,” said Gerald Ngonyama, marketing manager for Multichoice Zimbabwe.

The company has also launched a new entry package which will cost $7. The new Multichoice Zimbabwe subscription rates will take effect from Tuesday.

The company has been taken to court in Zimbabwe for not accepting bond notes as payment for subscriptions. DStv agents are only accepting US dollars for subscription payments, while banks have also tightened payment options.

A trial date has however not been set yet for the challenge against DStv Zimbabwe. The government has criticised Zimbabweans for spending scarce foreign currency resources on DStv and credit card payments, as the country battles a crippling liquidity crunch. Fin24