The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) said that three of the four applications for licences have been disqualified for not following the instructions in the invitation to apply. As a result, e.tv will be the only broadcaster to offer mobile TV, at least for the time being.
Multichoice Africa, Super5Media and The Mobile TV Consortium also applied for a licence, but their applications were rejected by the regulator.
The Mobile TV Consortium did not have a broadcast licence, which is a requirement for the application and that was why the authority disqualified it. Multichoice did not submit its application to the regulator in time, disqualifying it from the process. Super5Media submitted its application on time, but it did not bind nine of the 25 copies of its submission, making it ineligible to proceed with the process.
The application process was not without controversy. The ICASA opened the tender on April 16, giving broadcasters only thee weeks to submit a full business plan, technical specification and pay the R70,000 application fee.
With MultiChoice’s DStv already screening advertisements for its mobile television service, the Mobile TV Consortium was leading a campaign to have MultiChoice MultiChoice’s application disqualified. MultiChoice has been piloting a Mobile TV service in collaboration with MTN for the past few years and was seen as a serious contender for the licence.
It seems likely that the losing parties will seek clarification of the licencing process in the courts.