Malawi Digital Broadcasting Network Limited (MDBNL) decoders are set to face a second price cut this week courtesy of a renewed campaign to fully migrate to digital television broadcasting on June 30.
Director of Information Bright Molande and Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) technical adviser on digital migration Benson Tembo offered a glimpse of the price fall in Mzuzu yesterday, but asked the press to keep their fingers crossed until Saturday when Minister of Information and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati will launch the digital top-boxes rebranded “Kiliye Kiliye Decoders”.
The State-run MDBNL slashed the cost of the decoder from K25 000 (about $36) to K15 000 (about $22) on June 7 last year when United Nations member States were supposed to migrate from analogue television signal to digital broadcasting in line with a resolution adopted at an international telecommunication union conference in 2006.
On the cut-off night, former Minister of Information, Tourism and Civic Education Kondwani Nakhumwa and a high-powered delegation had a cocktail at Sunbird Mzuzu in anticipation for a hike to turn off analogue transmitters at Kaning’ina Hill, but the delegates were still imbibing at the plush hotel by 1.30am.
The last-minute decision not to switch over has left many Malawians getting grainy pictures and scratchy sounds on their television for a year since the night of endless drinks that was supposed to mark the dawn of crystal clear visuals and audios.
Tembo named Malawi Mauritius, Tanzania, Mozambique and Namibia among Sadc member States that have successfully migrated.
With the 17-channels on Kiliye Kiliye decoder—which could be selling at K10 000 from Saturday, according to insiders—the country offers the largest bouquet among the giants of southern Africa’s digital migration drive.