Pay television service provider, MultiChoice Malawi, says high charges for equipment for broadcasting and television signal is negatively impacting on the growth of access to television in the country.
The company was reacting to the recent national survey on access to and usage of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services in Malawi for the year 2015 by the Malawi Communications and Regulatory Authority (Macra).
The survey shows television accessibility remains low in Malawi as only 10.9 percent of the population has a set with 46.3 percent in urban while only 6.2 percent are in the rural areas, which MultiChoice has attributed to high costs.
MultiChoice Malawi sales and marketing manager Chimwemwe Nyirenda noted that in Malawi, equipment used for broadcasting and receiving television signal carries import duty and surcharge of 50 percent, an extra cost that limits both investment and access for consumers to enjoy affordable entertainment.
“Again, the expansion of the TV market is constrained by the lack of access of households to electricity. However, MultiChoice continues to offer products for different economic sectors of Malawi consumers,” he said.
Nyirenda said MultiChoice Malawi welcomes this first consumer survey of the ICT industry in Malawi though there have been a lot of developments after the period under review.
“It is just unfortunate that the survey was carried out in January 2015 and a lot of developments have happened in our industry during the past year, which significantly impacts the statistics.
“For example, GOtv launched in Mzuzu in April 2015, a few months after this survey was carried out. This brings GOtv signal to more than 65 percent of the available television households in Malawi,” he claimed.