Fed Govt probes MultiChoice, StarTimes for alleged infractions

Fed Govt

The Federal Government has opened an investigation into the conduct of the two dominant pay TV service providers in Nigeria – MultiChoice and StarTimes.

The government directed the companies to provide information relevant to the investigation tomorrow or before tomorrow.

In separate letters, dated August 28, 2020, addressed to both companies, the Federal Competition, Consumer and Protection Council (FCCPC) intimated the pay TV service providers of the notice of a probe into their possible violation of consumer rights and anti-competition conducts.

The letter to StarTimes was signed by Tam Tamunokobia, the Head of Legal Services at FCCPC. And the letter to MultiChoice was signed by Eme David Ojugo, the Assistant Chief Legal Officer at FCCPC.

The government said the regulatory body had established probable cause sufficient to begin investigations under Section 17 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA).

Read Also: MultiChoice hikes DSTV, GOTV rates

Both service providers were advised on their responsibilities under sections 32, 33, 34, 36, 111, 112, and 113 of the FCCPA.

The regulatory body mandated both service providers to provide specific information and any other information they might consider relevant or helpful to the investigation.

The specific information demanded by the FCCPC include the companies’ market share, annual reports for the preceding three years, list and contact details of distributors, description and information about content providers, information on prices for bouquet for the past 36 months, amongst others.

In a statement yesterday, FCCPC said: “Upon credible information, public announcements by operators, and consumer perception analytics, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has opened an investigation into the conduct of dominant pay TV service providers.”

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FCCPC Babatunde Irukera explained that in the past 24 months, the FCCPC had conducted an investigation, pursued legal action in court, secured an injunction pre-empting price increase, entered specific orders regarding a service provider, engaged in periodic surveillance and monitoring, and more recently inquired into a purported tax increase by at least one provider.

“This investigation is in order to address the commission’s concerns and publicly expressed consumer dissatisfaction with pay TV services. The scope of the enquiry includes but is not limited to questions about unfair dealings, unreasonable and manifestly unjust contract terms, abuse of market power, colorable pricing practices and other otherwise obnoxious or illegal conduct,” FCCPC said.

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