Slow digital migration hurts mobile TV in areas of Africa

South Africa lags behind Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana

The slow progress of digital television migration and a lack of clear telecommunications policies are hampering the development and use of mobile TV in South Africa.

The country is the continent's technology powerhouse, but is lagging behind in the implementation of mobile TV because of a delay in the migration from analog to digital TV.

The conversion process started on Nov. 1 last year and is now scheduled to end on April 30, 2012.

South Africa's digital migration process encountered a major setback after E-TV lodged an urgent suit with the Gauteng High Court seeking to stop the implementation of the regulations that govern the conversion of the country's analog broadcasting signal to digital.

In the dispute, E-TV expressed unhappiness about receiving only one additional channel in the proposed new channel allocation on the digital platform.

Rayner says it has been a struggle to get a license, despite having about 400 people trialling the service since 2005, based in major areas such as Gauteng, Soweto, Capetown and Durban.

"The advantage is that former president Thambo Mbeki promised to have mobile broadcast in place when accepting to host the FIFA football World cup, set to start next June," added Rayner.

DStv mobile is partnering with MTN, Africa's biggest mobile network to deliver audio, video, and data to make an interactive digital life for people attending the World Cup next year.

"MTN is working with local content companies in the 22 markets it operates in and will provide a useful mix of gaming offers, fantasy leagues, prediction, trivia and allow fans to upload their content," said Bertram Cameron, Portal Content Manager at MTN.

In other parts of Africa, mobile TV has taken off, with Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana leading. The service is currently free and offered in collaboration with mobile phone companies. DStv mobile is hoping to attract a huge number of the 51 million mobile phone users in Nigeria as well as Ghana's 7 million and Kenya's 15 million.

"People are watching mobile TV when bored, traveling, during a break and spare moment. The most popular content is soap operas, African movies, music and news," Rayner added.

However, Rayner and Cameron concur that mobile TV efforts have been greatly affected by lack of affordable handsets. The cheapest mobile TV-enabled handset costs about $150, which is beyond reach for the majority.

Live mobile TV uses DVB-H handsets and currently the companies are working with Nokia to provide affordable handsets, officials say.

DStv mobile is hoping to work with mobile phone service providers in the region to demonstrate available content and by April next year plans to start charging for services.

In most countries, telecom policies are not fully developed, which has made it easier for DStv mobile to get licenses. In some countries like Kenya, the unified license regime ensures that one license allows operators to provide converged services over several platforms.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rebecca Wanjiku

Unknown Publication
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?