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New TV brings a smile to GTV subscribers


By Patrick Kagenda

The first ever Chinese run Television station is set to open shop in Uganda in the next one month. Star TV, which is to operate pay TV services, is to begin testing its signal soon.

‘We have already given them license and we should expect them on air any time from now,’ said Minister for ICT Aggrey Awori .

‘They are a big group in China operating in a number of countries in Asia, and in Africa. In East Africa, Star TV is already in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya and now in Uganda,’ Uganda investment Authority Executive Director Maggie Kigozi told The Independent.

She said they plan to invest over $100 million (Shs 2.1 billion).

Kigozi was noncommittal on talk that Star TV will operate on infrastructure left behind by GTV.

‘That is up to them to negotiate with the GTV people. For us we have licensed them and all I can say is that they are introducing digital technology unlike the others who are operating on analogue,’ she said.’

Before its unceremonious exit GTV had invested heavily into football with a $500,000 contract with the Uganda FA, sponsors of the East and Central African tournament, the CECAFA Cup, and domestic leagues in Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda. Coverage of the English Premier League had also been secured. GTV had invested $235 million into the business and had attained 20,000 subscribers who were left stuck after it closed.

About its specialty, both Kigozi and Awori said the TV operators will tell the public what they will be offering them.’

Star communications is based’ ‘ in Shandong province China and operates on the Tandberg Television, part of the Ericsson Group. Star Communication Network Technology Co. Ltd is the strongest and largest system integrator, core technology provider and network operator in the CATV industry in China. The company covers the analog, digital network and digital TV technology, cooperating closely with world leading technology providers, equipment manufactures and software developers. It has more than 15 years experience in digital TV and is a driving force in China’s move to digital television as well as operation and systems integration expertise.

‘I trust the Chinese, they are honest people,’ said Awori.

‘ As and when Star TV opens shop, competition is bound to stiffen and could see MultiChoice re strategise again. When GTV opened shop in 2008, it gave MultiChoice a running for its survival resulting in price cuts. Currently there are two pay TV providers in Uganda namely MultiChoice and Pearl TV.’ Pay Television GTV (Gateway communications of Britain) closed shop in Uganda at the end of January 2009.


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