Waiver on TV decoders import tax paying off
By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya
As the migration from analogue to digital broadcasting gathers pace in Kenya, pay TV service providers are embroiled in a stiff competition which is expected to continue benefiting the consumer.
Pay-TV service provider GOtv has taken the first move to cut the prices for its services by up to 16%, setting the stage for a price war that could benefit subscribers.
In the last national budget the government waived the import taxes on the gadgets, meaning they should get cheaper with time.
With GOtv’s move, Kenyan TV viewers have already started reaping from the waiver of import duty on the set top boxes, gadgets that enable analogue TV sets receive digital signals.
GOtv manager Felix Kyengo said the firm has reduced its monthly subscription fee to Sh599 from Sh720 with the bundle offer being reduced by 10 per cent to Sh4,900 from Sh5,500.
Kyengo said that cuts have been made possible by the government’s tax waiver on decoders.
“The tax waiver on decoders has enabled us to transfer the benefits to the consumers.
Our aim is to deliver digital television entertainment on the advanced DVB-T2 network and offering affordable digital pay television service,” he said.
The move by GOtv comes days after GOtv’s Chinese rival StarTimes Media unveiled a national rollout of its services. The Chines firms has already launched its signal in Kisumu and Mombasa.
StarTimes Media’s subscription starts from Sh500 while GOtv’s step is seen as a means of maintaining a head-start in digital migration.
According to Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary, Bitange Ndemo, the digital signal is now available in all the major towns in Kenya and is expected to be available in most parts, with at least 80% coverage, by the end of 2012.