The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has rejected all five applicants for FTA television broadcasting licences on DTT.
“After careful consideration of each application, and being cognisant of the prevailing provisions of the ECA and the requirements of the ITA, it is with great regret that the Authority has taken a decision to refuse all applicants due to the all applicants non-compliance with the ITA and provisions of the ECA,” the Authority said in a statement.
Grounds of rejection included foreign shareholdings, ownership by historically disadvantaged individuals, corporate status and finances. ICASA will publish the reason for each of its rejections “in due course.”
The licences would have led to the first new competition in free-to-air digital terrestrial since the launch of e.tv in 1998, the sole competitor to state broadcaster SABC.
Applicants for the new licences included the Gupta family’s company Infinity Media, which sought to launch the ANN7 24-hour news channel nationally on a terrestrial signal. ANN7 is currently only available on MultiChoice’s DStv platform.
Another applicant was Hola Media, one of whose principal backers is Liquid Telecom, the pan-African fibre telecommunications firm controlled by Strive Masiyiwa’s Econet Group. The other applicants were Medo Investments, Rubicon Investments and Change TV Network.