Algerie Telecom points to unfair competition from pirate TV distributors

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Algerie Telecom, the main telecoms service provider in Algeria cannot offer cable TV channels to its 3.5 million customers. "We could not compete with pirates prices who offer TV at very low prices because we would be required to buy licenses from the TV channels and we would therefore set our prices accordingly" said the CEO of Algerie Telecom, Azouaou Mehmel.

In Algeria, the cable TV industry is dominated by hackers suppliers who use their Internet connection to transmit encrypted signals television channels. They then sell these channels to buyers who subscribe to bouquets or channels selections for very low prices. Subscriptions" are usually sold on a 6 months basis for 2000 dinars per month ( approx. 18 € = USD 24 ).

At these prices, pirate operators play their game because they neither pay taxes to the Algerian State nor rights to TV channels. They just buy subscriptions, like any client and sell them.

"This phenomenon creates a shortfall for AT and we even noticed that there are people who use their Internet access just for this piracy business" said Azouaou Mehmel.

However these pirate suppliers are yet identifiable by Algeria Telecom which sells them Internet access . It is possible to identify the pirates, because they buy their Internet access from AT. But according to the company, the priority is given to infrastructure (vs. selling content).