By: ISAIAH ERHIAWARIEN
The direct to home television broadcast in the country may soon witness stiffer competition as MTN Nigeria has acquired a broadcast licence from the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). The licence, which is said to be worth about N34 billion will enable the mobile operator provide digital Pay TV services to Nigerians thereby making it the second South African company providing pay TV services in country and rival to another South pay TV provider, DSTV, owned by Multichoice Nigeria. Details about the entrance of MTN Nigeria into the pay TV business were disclosed at a world press conference organised by NBC in Lagos.
A source however told National Mirror that MTN Nigeria had acquired the licence for pay TV services but did not disclose the details of when the licence was acquired or how soon the company will commence operation. According to the NBC, the move is beneficial for both parties as MTN will use part of the 700 MHz spectrum to provide pay TV services while the NBC said that the fund will be used as part of the funding needs for Nigeria’s the digital switchover project. It explained further that the N34 billion was 50 per cent of the initial fee of N70 billion meant for the licence. Nigeria missed the initial June 17, 2015 all digital TV deadline along with many African countries. The country has now set a new deadline in concert with other West African countries for June 20, 2017. NBC believes Nigeria is on target for the new date.
“With the current arrangement through which we have secured more than half of our budgetary needs to transit, and as we explore other avenues, we are confident that the new date is achievable.” MTN’s move into cable TV services is a sign of reducing reliance on voice telephony services as various VoIP platforms like Whatsapp, Viber