Business

Star Times On The Spot Over Sh 7.8 bn “Fake” Decoders

sildenafil http://curaacufeni.com/wp-content/themes/the.2.0.3.1/thesis/lib/core/upgrade.php geneva;”>The Uganda Consumers’ Protection Awareness Association (UCPAA) says “it’s greatly disturbed and worried on behalf of Ugandan television consumers that some of these companies are taking advantage of a lack of consumer product knowledge and awareness to actively promote and dump what appear to be cheap products onto the Ugandan market, shop http://culture.you-ng.it/wp-content/plugins/contact-form-7/includes/contact-form-template.php ” said Mulwani Taminwa, ask http://dailyampersand.com/wp-content/plugins/contact-form-7/includes/contact-form.php the chairman UCPAA.

“UCPAA is against this unethical behavior by Star Times Company which is blatantly fleecing consumers by selling to them cheap DVB-T1 decoders knowing full well that they will soon be obsolete leaving thousands of Ugandans without a service,” Mulwani said in a statement this week.

It is estimated that the company has sold 130,000 DVBT-1 decoders to date, a reasonable number of which were made after the public notice by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), calling for an immediate ban on the importation of the decoders and advisory to against their purchase by consumers.

However, the Country Sales Manager, Simon Arineitwe, denies reports of fleecing customers, saying the company recently imported DVB T2 decoders which will be “exchanged” for those with outdated technology after the digital transition.

“The DVB T 2 decoders are already here. We shall unveil them on September 27 before putting in place a schedule on how to recall over 130,000 decoders,” said Arineitwe in an interview with Chimpreports investigations desk on Saturday afternoon.

“When time for the digital transition sets in, we shall ensure we are at par with our customers,” said Arineitwe.

UCPAA says this “outdated technology (DVB T) has been outlawed in most countries including our neighbors Kenya and Rwanda and consumers have been strongly advised not to purchase the products by the Ugandan regulator and the Government.”

“The prime culprit of this is STAR Times TV which recently announced a wonderful price offer by slashing price of their Set Top Boxes (decoders) from 100,000 down to 60,000,” said Mulwani.

From the sale of 130,000 disputed decoders, Star Times has raised Shs7.8bn.

Below is UCPAA’s statement in full:

RE: CONSUMERS BAN ON THE SALE AND DISTRIBUTION OF DVB T1 SET TOP BOXES (DECODERS) BY STAR TV

The Uganda Consumers’ Protection Awareness Association (UCPAA) is a non-profit consumer rights association registered and incorporated under the laws of Uganda.

The organisation was created with the purpose of defending the rights of Ugandan consumers by advancing consumer activism; creating product/service awareness and contributing to the creation of an equitable market supply vs consumer benefit society.

Over the past one year on behalf of Ugandan consumers the UCPAA has been keenly following developments within the television and broadcasting industry as Uganda gears itself towards migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting.

The migration is a significant milestone for Uganda as it will bring technological and socio-economic benefits to the country which encompass and go beyond the television industry including:-

The freeing up of spectrum which can sold by Government and used for other very communications purposes like telephony and data (The digital dividend) provision of additional bandwidth which will allow television companies to create more channels and stimulate the growth of the television industry and economy.

Improved picture and sound quality thereby supporting local production standards.

Increased penetration of TV broadcast technology through lower prices brought about by competition.

Whilst progress has been made within the industry towards beating the migration deadline as evidenced by the drafting of the legal framework to be used to regulate the industry and the number of new companies offering digital pay television services including MOtv, STAR Times, GOtv on the DTT platform and ZUKU on DTH.

CONCERNS

The UCPAA finds itself greatly disturbed and worried on behalf of Ugandan television consumers that some of these companies are taking advantage of a lack of consumer product knowledge and awareness to actively promote and dump what appear to be cheap products onto the Ugandan market which we are certain:-

Use outdated technology (DVB T) which has been outlawed in most countries including our neighbors Kenya and Rwanda.

Consumers have been strongly advised not to purchase by the Ugandan regulator and the Government.

The prime culprit of this is STAR Times TV which recently announced a wonderful price offer by slashing price of their Set Top Boxes (decoders) from 100,000 down to 60,000.

Whilst this offer is very tempting to the Ugandan public who have limited disposable income.

We are aware earlier this year that the UCC published a public notice in a cross-section of the local media announcing the adoption of countrywide standards for the digital migration.

The notice informed the broadcasting fraternity investors, service providers and the General public that Uganda had with immediate effect adopted DVB T2 and MPE 4 over DVB T as the standards to be used in the provision of Digital Terrestrial Television DTT broadcasting services.

In a subsequent notice the UCC published a list of minimum specifications for DVB T2 and advised vendors to stop the importation of DVB T STB and consumers to cease purchasing the same.

Investigations carried out by the UCPAA in the market and the ongoing advertising subsequent to the announcements indicate that STAR times continues to sell and distribute DVB T technology at knockdown prices despite the fact that these STB are to be phased out in the near future and will be unable to receive television signals once the UCC sets up its DTT infrastructure which will support DVB T2 but not DVB T. (The technology us backward but not forward compatible)

UCPAA is against this unethical behavior by Star Times Company which is blatantly fleecing consumers by selling to them cheap DVB-T1 decoders knowing full well that they will soon be obsolete leaving thousands of Ugandans without a service.

It is estimated that the company has sold 130,000 DVBT-1 decoders to date a reasonable number of which were made after the public notice by the UCC calling for an immediate ban on the importation of the decoders and advisory to against their purchase by consumers.

The situation was worsened by media statements attributed to STAR Time’s Sales Manager Simon Arinaitwe in the Daily Monitor in July claiming among other things that Star DVB T1 STB are upgradeable to the latest technologies and that such configuration options were available at all their outlets.

We have since visited the outlets in question and carried out research; this is an absolute falsehood that is best not repeated without thorough technical or legal counsel.

On behalf of all Ugandan television consumers the UCPAA therefore demands that the UCC and the Government act in the interests of the country at this very important juncture in the ICT/Television sector by:-

1. Banning Star Times from advertising and selling (read dumping) their DVB T STB’s with immediate effect and enforcing the importation ban as per the UCC notice.

2. Certifying Migration compliant technologies and equipment for sale with identifiable security trade symbols

3. Suspending Star Times license to operate television broadcasting services till such a time that they have upgraded their network infrastructure and started offering DVB T2 equipment for sale in compliance with the UCC/ITU standards

4. Asking Star TV to provide a public, clear and detailed roadmap how they intend to recall the DVB T decoders they have sold in the interim with timelines on how and when they intend to compensate Ugandan consumers who have unwittingly bought the soon to be obsolete decoders.

5. Requesting Star to provide an environmental disposal plan for the decoders that are to be recalled lest there be any hazardous waste

6. Ensuring senior Star staff refrain from making false statements about the technical capabilities of STAR STB which are not upgradable thereby misleading gullible consumers

7. Effectively enforcing the Digital Migration policy such that no other operator is able to mislead Ugandan Television consumers in the same way.

For God, My country and Ugandan Consumers.

Yours faithfully,

Mulwani Taminwa

CHAIRMAN UCPAA

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