East African soccer fans fume over DSTV increases

By Omondi Julius Odera, Kampala, Uganda

Many soccer fans in East Africa have lashed out at DSTV for increasing subscription fees by up to 25 percent.

The new rates which have been announced in both Kenya and Uganda come into effect barely a month after the South Africa-based firm compelled all the English premier soccer fans to subscribe to the premium bouquet to view Premier league matches from SS3 to SS5, which technically meant digging deeper into their pocket to view the soccer which was transferred from Compact+ bouquet to the Premium.

The firm on its defense attributes the new rates to the weakening shilling which in the process has forced them into revising the rates since most of their costs are billed in US dollars. “We held off passing on the cost of the depreciation by absorbing the losses for several months, however, this is not a sustainable business strategy; we find ourselves with no alternative but to revise our price rates upward,” noted Hamya.

Similar sentiments were aired from their Kenyan counterparts. A statement from the firm in Nairobi noted that the increase is necessitated by Foreign exchange rate changes.  “The continuous depreciation of the Kenyan Shilling against the US Dollar has negatively impacted the business -this is similar to other imported services where costs are originated in US Dollars,” added the statement.

The new rates are effective 1st October 2015. The Ugandan subscribers are the worst hit with a increase of about 25 percent. The new rates for Premium, Compact+, Compact, Family and Access in Uganda will be UGX334,000, UGX225,000, UGX128,000, UGX73,000 and UGX38,000 respectively.

Comparatively the Kenyan subscribers will also seek a fortune in order to enjoy the Pay TV services. The new rates in Kenya however have increased by about 15 percent. The DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus, DStv Compact, DStv Family and DStv Access bouquets are available at Ksh9400, Ksh6400, Ksh3750, Ksh2150 and Ksh1050.

The rates have irked subscribers with many venting their anger and disappointment on social media platforms. Jacobs Seaman from Uganda was not amused with new rates, “Jumping on to Azam TV. Guess I will have to be following sports via my phone Internet as buying Wifi bundle is cheaper. For my gal's cartoons, I pray Azam TV can sort that. For movies and stuff, Bollywood will be there. Can also subscribe Star Times to sort Bundesliga. DStv, this is my final month with you except during special seasons,” he ranted.

There were similar sentiments from the Kenyan subscribers. Carole Kimutai said: "Considering DSTv does not even refer to subscribers by name, that money can be invested in boosting internet access at home” Lee Mwiti, another Kenyan, noted: “this is just a rip off. The same package in SA goes for R699 monthly, or Sh5,400 at current rates. However you spin it--taxes, forex etc-- for Sh9,400, someone's having a laugh.”

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