Kenya: StarTimes cuts prices as DTT launches

Regulation & Policy

Pay-TV services provider StarTimes has slashed prices for its digital set-top box by Sh500, angling to woo TV owners yet to buy the gadget amid looming December 13 switch-off in Nairobi.

The firm said Friday its DVB T2 (digital video broadcasting - second generation terrestrial) decoder will drop to Sh2,999 and a further 43 per cent price cut on antenna and cable, as Nairobi dwellers prepare for the analogue signal switch-off.

The outdoor antenna and a 10-metre cable will retail at Sh800 from Sh1,400 previously, while the same with a 15-metre cable will retail at Sh900 from Sh1,600.

"In the coming days, many Kenyans especially in Nairobi will be required to acquire approved digital boxes. Most of those who will be affected are first-time buyers. We have therefore thought of making it easier for them to access our premium digital television service," said chief executive Leo Lee.

The move comes few days after retail chain Nakumatt reported a surge in sales of digital television sets across all its outlets. It said the value of TV sets sold has "more than tripled" in six months to end of October, ahead of the looming deadline.

"Sales data captured in the last six months ended October confirm that the range of Samsung TVs featuring in-built DVB-T2 tuners have been enjoying brisk sales, easily touching the Sh30 million a month mark," it said in a statement.

Samsung Electronics East Africa chief operating officer Robert Ngeru said the firm is now delivering a wider range of smart LED TVs with in-built DVB-T2 tuners. All 2013 TV models by Samsung that are 28-inch and above, he said, are DVB-T2 compliant.

In a gazette notice published October 18, the government affirmed that the analogue TV broadcast transmission switch-off date for Nairobi and its environs will be on December 13, coinciding with the country's celebration of 50 years of independence.