Injunction Against Multichoice in Respect of the 2023 DSTV Price Increase

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) Responds to Multichoice’s Service Withdrawal

Following the recent injunction against Multichoice Malawi, which led to the withdrawal of DSTV services, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has issued a response, emphasizing its commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring the enforcement of provisions outlined in the Communications Act.

In a letter addressed to Multichoice Malawi, MACRA acknowledged the service withdrawal due to the injunction and expressed confidence in the judicial process to arrive at a just resolution.

MACRA has requested that Multichoice Malawi provide specific details and plans regarding the company’s next steps, as the service withdrawal will impact its SMS license. The regulatory authority has outlined several key areas that require attention:

  1. Voluntary License Revocation: Multichoice Malawi is expected to initiate the process of voluntarily revoking its license.
  2. Broadcast Shutdown Date: Multichoice Malawi should communicate the exact date on which it will cease broadcasting its DSTV services into Malawi.
  3. Consumer Refunds and Compensation: Measures should be outlined to address the refund of payments made by consumers for services beyond the shutdown date and compensation for proprietary DSTV equipment that will become obsolete.
  4. E-Waste Disposal Plan: Mechanisms for proper disposal of obsolete equipment as e-waste within Malawi must be detailed.
  5. Spectrum Usage Compliance: Multichoice Malawi should ensure that DSTV signals will not use Malawi’s frequencies (10970MHz, 11010MHz, 11050MHz, 11090MHz, 11130MHz, 11170MHz) illegally after the shutdown date.
  6. Compliance Testing: MACRA will conduct compliance testing on the specified frequencies one day after the committed shutdown date to confirm the cessation of broadcasts and reallocate the frequencies if needed.
  7. Outstanding License Fees: Multichoice Malawi is reminded of its unpaid license fees totaling MK 19,372,447.20 and is instructed to settle this amount within 30 days.
  8. Audited Statements Submission: Multichoice Malawi is requested to submit its audited statements for 2022 for the calculation of 2022 levies.

Furthermore, Multichoice Malawi is warned that broadcasting without a valid license is considered an offense under Section 187 of the Communications Act. MACRA reserves the right to take appropriate actions against any illegal broadcasting activities.

The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority reiterates its commitment to maintaining a fair and transparent communication sector that safeguards consumer interests. MACRA will closely monitor the situation and ensure that regulatory actions are taken within the framework provided by the law.

Multichoice Malawi is expected to provide comprehensive updates in response to MACRA’s requests. The regulatory authority stands ready to address further developments as they arise.

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