SA regulator rushes to license mobile TV

SA regulator rushes to license mobile TV

South African broadcasting and telecoms regulator The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) is racing against time to issue mobile TV licences in time for the World Cup tournament in June.

Robert Nkuna, an Icasa councillor, was reported as saying that two multiplexes have been set aside for mobile TV. One multiplex can carry up to twelve TV channels, depending on the technology used. No company will be allowed to occupy more than 60% of a multiplex. MultiChoice, which has been testing mobile TV technology by streaming some of its existing pay-TV content to cellphones over the past three years in cooperation with various wireless network operators, is planning to apply for a licence. Its parent company, Naspers, said last year it had set aside $13.4 million for mobile TV services, which it has already launched in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Namibia.

Interested parties have three weeks to submit their applications to Icasa. Nkuna said mobile TV licences would be offered on a technology-neutral basis. The second multiplex will be available after the regulator has opened the market for the second round of pay-TV licences.

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