Kwese Free TV Receives Terrestrial Licence To Broadcast In South Africa
Kwese Free TV has become the first free-to-air terrestrial broadcaster since e.tv to receive a licence in South Africa.
The broadcaster, which is 20% owned by the Econet Group, will offer five free channels to South African viewers, including an exclusive 24-hour sports channel.
ICASA, the country’s communications regulator announced that Kwese Free TV had become the successful applicant of the licence at a media briefing in Pretoria, South Africa on Monday. Five other entities had been vying for this particular licence, which includes a 55% chunk of radio frequency spectrum in what has been named the digital broadcasting “Mux 3”.
Other companies that hold a stake in Kwese Free TV include Royal Bafokeng Metix ( a subsidiary of Royal Bafokeng Holdings), which is a 45% shareholder, and Moss Mashishi’s Mosong Capital, which holds a 35% stake.
South Africa’s legal structure prevents Econet, a foreign entity, from owning more than 20% of the new business.
The launch of Kwese Free TV will be subject to South Africa’migration of analogue to digital television. ICASA has granted Kwese 24 months to launch the service, but the company declared that it plans to go on air as soon as possible, and will probably kick-off with a high-definition sports channel. It also plans to deliver four standard-definition channels, including ones that offer a mix of entertainment.
The spectrum allocated to Kwese has a total capacity of 37Mbit/s. According to ICASA, this capacity could be used to offer a total of 11 SD channels and two more HD channels.
Econet’s Group Executive for Regulatory Affairs, Zolile Ntukwana, said in an interview after the ICASA media briefing that the Kwese Sports free-to-air channel has already been made available in as many as 18 countries in Africa.
The company hopes to offer South African viewers all the top sports action including the English Premier League matches, the next Fifa World Cup and the Olympic Games.
Ntukwana said that Kwese Free TV has an excellent management pool it can draw from as it gets ready to launch.
Credit: This article originated from www.techcentral.co.za