Pay TV fee hike will make football fans in Uganda miss out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Satellite service subscribers in Uganda are on the verge of missing out on the World Cup action due to the uptick in licensing fees from the country’s pay TV industry.

Last month, Uganda’s Communications Commission revealed that “The Commission shall, with effect from April 30, 2018 commence vigorous enforcement action against all Pay TV providers that will continue broadcasting without complying with the law and the commission’s directive. Enforcement measures shall include but (not be) limited to closure of broadcasting facilities and prosecution of offenders for illegal broadcast in accordance with section 27 of the Uganda Communications Act.”

While expressing their displeasure of the government’s 2400 percent increase, six leading pay TV companies in the East African country DSTV, Kwese, Startimes, Azam Media, Zuku and Gotv decried the government’s plan to increase their annual fees from Shs 22,000,000 to 550,000,000.

The licencing fees hike threatens the fan who anticipated watching the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men’s national teams.

As the World Cup, which is scheduled to take place in Russia between 14th June to 15th July 2018, draws near, subscribers fear they will be left out in one of the most watched tournaments on the planet because of the pending no-negotiation policy on TV operators in Uganda.

The no-negotiation policy places a weighty financial burden on the Tv operators and the ripple effect will be felt largely by fans who will be tasked more ahead of the World Cup. Secondly, due to the 24000 percent increase, Tv operators who are still in business, may be forced to reduce their bouquet services they offer for a package which also affects subscribers.

Uganda has not made an appearance at the World Cup for the past 3 decades.