Complaints over South Africa TV transmission costs
August 9, 2022
By Chris Forrester
There are a number of complaints coming from public and private broadcasters that Sentech, the provider of TV signals around South Africa, is overcharging and using anti-competitive behaviour.
Public broadcaster SABC, itself financially challenged, has argued to the media regulator ICASA that publicly-owned Sentech, as a monopoly, is guilty of excessive pricing.
Private broadcaster E-tv’s owner eMedia Investments has made similar accusations. In its formal submission to ICASA, eMedia says it is “deeply concerned” that Sentech’s market domination needs urgent reorganisation and regulation. eMedia argues that ICASA itself is also guilty of ignoring the situation.
“ICASA has allowed Sentech to engage in anticompetitive pricing and exploit this given the uneven bargaining positions between Sentech (as the only option to provide broadcast signal distribution services) and its customers, being television and radio broadcasters,” stated eMedia.
“ICASA cannot rest on its laurels as it has done since 2011 and needs to urgently proceed with the current inquiry and regulate the transmission services market. While the authority has shown alacrity of speed in dealing with certain issues, such as analogue switch-off and the spectrum auction, when it comes to dealing with competition issues, it fails to act with alacrity or at all,” eMedia added.
SABC, in its submission, stated that Sentech is additionally in breach of the country’s Electronic Communications Act which provides that in setting tariffs, “Sentech must take into account the nature and technical parameters of the service provided to each broadcasting licensee with a view to ensuring that the different tariffs are appropriate and commensurate with the various broadcasting services to which they relate”.