Applications for new digital pay TV channels open


The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has opened applications for broadcasters to apply for multiplexer 3 digital terrestrial television spectrum.

ICASA issued an invitation to apply for this spectrum in September 2015, but did not issue the license.

MultiChoice launched its digital terrestrial pay TV service (GOtv) in South Africa during February 2016. A GOtv Value package is R99 per month, while GOtv Lite is R45 per quarter. GOtv decoders are listed on its website for R699 once-off.

Invitation to Apply

Multiplexer 3 (MUX 3) is intended for providing additional commercial subscription television broadcasting services, and ICASA has said the successful applicant will be assigned 45 per cent of MUX 3 capacity to launch pay TV services.

Among the criteria to qualify for the spectrum are:

  • The applicant must be a television broadcasting service licensee, as defined in the Promotion of Diversity and Competition on Digital Terrestrial Television Regulations.
  • The applicant must have a minimum of 30 per cent ownership held by historically disadvantaged person(s), or have a level 4 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) status.

Prior to awarding this spectrum licence, the applicant must provide proof of funding to support the proposed launch date. According to ICASA, the licensee must use the assigned radio frequencies within two years of it being granted.

However, the licensee must also inform ICASA on the actual date of launch. Once a launch date has been set, the successful applicant will have two years to roll out 50 per cent of the distribution network for the spectrum it has been licensed.

The successful applicant must also ensure that the appointed signal distributor for its 45 per cent of MUX 3 capacity distributes the remaining 55 per cent to free-to-air TV broadcasters. This must be done without prejudice, through a commercial arrangement.

ICASA said that it will license the additional free-to-air broadcasters who must be given access to the remaining capacity of MUX 3.

The closing date to apply for 45 per cent of MUX 3 to offer pay TV services is 25 January 2018.



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