Kwesé Free TV has been granted a commercial free-to-air TV licence by South Africa’s media and communications regulator, despite the pan-African satellite TV service having gone into administration.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has concluded that Kwesé Free TV complies with the relevant South African laws and is capable of receiving the broadcasting licence, which also includes a radio frequency spectrum licence of 55% at MUX 3 frequencies.
ICASA added that there is a market demand for Econet Media-owned Kwesé Free TV, which has the expertise and experience necessary to run a broadcasting business.
The regulator received five applications for the third multiplex frequencies, namely Kwesé, Laedza TV, Tshwaranang Media, Infinity Media Networks and Free To Air TV.
Local public broadcaster SABC opposed the move, claiming the award of additional third-multiplex capacity could hamper a seamless digital migration, but ICASA maintained that licensing an additional individual FTA commercial broadcaster would add to the variety of TV services available to the country’s citizens.
The proposed service “will stimulate competition and increase the variety of television broadcasting services available to South Africans,” it ruled.
With this licence, Kwesé TV will be able to offer a bouquet of channels including sport and general entertainment content. The five channels to be launched are Kwesé Free Sports HD, Kwesé Brave, Kwesé Focus, Kwesé Vibes and Kwesé Drama.
Kwesé Free TV is 20%-owned by Econet South Africa, with Royal Bafoteng Metix owning a 45% stake and Mosong Equities 35%.