Kenya: CCK Licenses 60 New Set-Top Box Dealers

Technology & Convergence

The Communications Commission of Kenya has expanded the dealership of digital decoders from four to 60 to create competition and bring down prices.

The new entrants will compete with the existing pay-TV providers StarTimes Media and Multichoice and Free-to air dealers Professional Digital System and Microville Solutions.

Francis Wangusi, the CCK Director General announced this on Monday saying the commission will soon release the list of the new dealers.

The market has recorded sluggish sales of free-to air set-top boxes with less than 10,000 sold. This is despite nearly 70 per cent coverage of digital signals in the country.

"With increased demand of the devices and higher supply market forces will drive down the price of set top boxes," said Wangusi.

Currently free-to-air DVB-T2 set-top boxes cost from Sh5500 upwards. Startimes and Multichoice sell theirs at a lower price, but on condition the buyers subscribe to their services.

The regulator, however, says the new dealers are under temporary authorisation.

"We have to screen the dealers very closely because we are aware some of them seek the licenses hoping to sell it to other parties at a profit," said Wangusi.

Last month, the Digital Decoder Dealers Association accused CCK of delaying the licensing process warning that this could lead to importation of sub-standard devices by crafty dealers.

Kenya is in a race to beat the 2015 global deadline for switching to digital television.

Wangusi was speaking during the 'Harmonization of ICT Policies in Sub-Sahara Africa" conference in Nairobi organised by the International Telecommunications Union and, African Telecommunications Union.

One of the main agenda is to discuss a draft agreement that sets out how countries are to deal with cross border frequency interferences across the 43 countries involved.