Broadcast Regulation

Uganda: UCC Stops Existing Pay TV Licensing Structure, For A Revised One Within A Week

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has suspended the implementation of the existing licensing framework for pay TV service providers, with a promise to release a revised version within one week.

The existing licensing regime, which had come into force very recently, specifically on 1st January had increased pay TV licensing fee from Shs22m to Shs550m per year.

In a notice published last Monday, the commission had issued a warning to pay-TV service providers which includes Multichoice (DStv), StarTimes, GOtv, Zuku, Azam and Kwese to pay for the licenses or face shut down.

 In disagreement with the unaccountable increase of the licensing fee, an emergency meeting was organised to resolve the current licensing regime. UCC, after that, withdrew the notice and embraced dialogue clearing the air that it has no intention of injuring the industry as it was being alleged.

Mr Godfrey Mutabazi, the UCC Executive Director while speaking in a joint media briefing between the commission and pay TV providers last Monday, said: “We have been discussing these issues and we have agreed that all the pending problems will be resolved. We believe that within a week or so, we shall have a clear document detailing the new licensing structure."

Multichoice Uganda General Manager, Mr Charles Hamya, who represented pay-TV service providers, said the dialogue would seek to build a licensing regime that is both fair to investors (pay-TV providers) and friendly to consumers as well.

On the other hand, Mr Mutabazi disclosed that the new licensing structure would increase to factor in changes that were brought in as a result of digital broadcasting.

Ms Sheila Nyanzi, Kwese East Africa Regional Head, said: "the new licensing regime should put customers in consideration because price (subscription fee) is a factor determined by cost. So our concern is if there is a significant increase then we will factor the cost into our subscription.”

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