You probably know by now that Kwese (Econet Media) terminated their contract with their partner Dr Dish. It was interesting news because Dr Dish has a broadcasting licence and it is that licence which Kwese was utilizing to be able to broadcast in the country.
If one is to peruse the Broadcasting Services Act, one would see that Kwese was supposed to be shut down on the day they parted ways with Dr Dish. That did not happen and it was speculated that Kwese probably got some kind of permit to keep broadcasting as they work on getting their own licence. The relevant Act has no provision for such a permit though.
As luck would have it for Kwese, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) recently invited applications for licences in ‘classes that do not require allocation or use of frequencies.’ The classes are Video on Demand Services (VOD), Webcasting services and Content Distribution Services.
Econet Media did not sit on their laurels when there were licences up for grabs. They have applied for all the licence classes advertised by BAZ:
- Video on Demand Services (VOD)
- Webcasting services
- Content Distribution Services
We talked at length about how ambiguous and vague those licence classes are. What we know is that Kwese’s satellite TV option is not covered there but looking at the Dr Dish mess, it would be prudent for the company to apply for these licences to avoid landing in similar positions in the future.
As mentioned, getting these licences does not solve the satellite TV licence mess. We still have no idea what Kwese is using to broadcast via satellite and we hope everything is in order because we really need Kwese to stay on air – competition for DStv.
The confidence they had in terminating Dr Dish’s licence suggests Kwese have it figured out. Econet has a team of lawyers so they probably found a loophole. When we pressed for answers, Kwese directed us to the relevant authorities, saying the authorities can shed light on the matter.
If anyone knows of any reason why Kwese should not be hooked up with any of the licences they applied for, they have fourteen days to spit it out or forever hold their peace. I know a number who would want to see Kwese denied those licences but I’m not sure they have any reasons that could stick. If that’s you contact BAZ, 04-443456-7 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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