DStv pulls out of Malawi after government blocks price hikes

MultiChoice has announced the withdrawal of DStv services from Malawi with immediate effect after the country’s government succeeded in blocking its latest price increases.

The broadcaster said the decision followed the injunction issued by the High Court in Lilongwe in a matter between MultiChoice Malawi (MCM) and the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra), prohibiting an adjustment to the DStv tariffs.

“MCM does not offer the DStv service to the public and therefore cannot set or adjust tariffs for this service, a point repeatedly made to Macra,” said MultiChoice Africa.

“As a result, the order handed down to MCM is incapable of being implemented by them but carries with it grave consequences for the directors and management of MultiChoice Malawi, including imprisonment.”

“Given the impact on its supplier and an increasingly adverse regulatory environment, MultiChoice Africa is therefore left with no option but to terminate the DStv service indefinitely.”

In July, DStv announced its price increases for packages in Malawi effective from 1 August 2023.

This included the monthly price of the Premium bouquet jumping roughly 18% from 67,000 Malawian Kwacha (R1,167) to 79,000 Malawian Kwacha (R1,376).

The prices of all the other packages were also increased substantially, with hikes of up to 22.5%, as shown in the table below.

DStv Malawi price adjustments — August 2023
Package Old price New price Difference
Premium MK67,000 MK79,000 +17.9%
Compact Plus MK43,000 MK51,000 +18.6%
Compact MK27,500 MK33,000 +20.0%
Family MK16,400 MK19,500 +18.9%
Access MK10,200 MK12,500 +22.5%
Kufewa MK6,850 MK7,500 +9.5%
Average +17.9%

MultiChoice requested customers in Malawi to immediately halt payments for DStv services.

“From Wednesday, 9 August 2023, no new subscriptions or reconnections will be accepted,” the broadcaster said.

Those who have already paid their latest subscription can continue to use the service until the current 30-day viewing cycle ends on or before 10 September 2023.

MultiChoice thanked Malawian customers for their support over many years, and MCM for its professional conduct in supplying services to the broader company over that same period.

The latest development comes after Macra fined MultiChoice 10 million Malawian Kwacha (about R174,000) in January 2023 for price increases it implemented in July 2022, without pre-approval by the regulator.

It also ordered the company to refund DStv subscribers who had paid the hiked fees.

TV with Thinus reports that MultiChoice recently also drastically increased prices in several other Sub Saharan African countries — including Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, from July in Tanzania and twice in Kenya within a few months.

Now read: DStv fighting to keep subscribers

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DStv pulls out of Malawi after government blocks price hikes