Multichoice leaves Malawi after regulator stops it from increasing prices

South African entertainment company Multichoice, which owns and operates satellite pay TV service DSTV, has withdrawn from Malawi after a court barred its local franchise from increasing prices.

The company said "no new subscriptions or reconnections will be accepted” and it would only continue serving clients with active subscriptions until 10 September.

The withdrawal of services from Malawi marks the end of a hostile relationship between Multichoice and the regulator.

Last month, Multichoice Malawi announced an increase in DSTV prices, but the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) acquired a temporary court injunction preventing the hike from going through.

MultiChoice Malawi reacted by obtaining a temporary stay of the injunction.

Macra in January fined MultiChoice 10 million kwacha ($9,220; £8,400) and ordered the company to refund subscribers the added amount after MultiChoice raised DSTV prices without the regulator’s approval.

MultiChoice Malawi argued that it was merely collecting subscription fees on behalf of MultiChoice Africa, which sets and adjusts the prices.

MultiChoice prides itself as Africa’s leading entertainment platform, serving 23.5 million households across 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

While DSTV provides various entertainment services, it is best known for the streaming of live sports events, particularly football.

In recent months, MultiChoice Africa has hiked the subscription fees for TV services in some markets, including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

The company has responded to criticism from users in these countries by explaining that the price hikes have been caused by inflation and subsequent increase in its operating costs.

Source: BBC 

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