Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja,yesterday granted an interim injunction halting the hike in DSTV subscription by MultiChoice Nigeria Limited.
The order was granted in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/894/2018 Federal Republic of Nigeria v. MultiChoice Nigeria Limited on Monday, August 20. Following the court’s injunction, Nigerians have come out en masse reacting to the news. As some expressed gratitude to the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), a regulatory body that challenged the DSTV’s subscription hike, others sounded a note of caution.
@ChukaTheBoss tweeted, “Would you look at that, which regulatory body has multichoice within their purview? price hikes have to go through them. Reasons for any increment must be made public, at least! Thank you to Tunde Irukera and the CPC. Now we know someone has our backs”
Addressing the issue, CPC Director General, Babatunde Irukera said the Pay TV preempted investigations and acted in bad faith by agreeing to a consent order to hold terms and conditions in 24 months, but increased prices on the eve of signing Consent Order to undermine regulatory process.
MultiChoice had earlier announced the increase of prices on its digital satellite platform, DSTV from August 1, 2018 .
The subscribers on DStv Premium package was expected to see a price increase from N14,700 to N15,800; Compact Plus from N9,900 to N10,650; Compact from N6,300 to N6,800; Family from N3,800 to N4,000 and on Access, N1,900 to N2,000. The increase, according to the company, was due to the spike in inflation rates.
Multichoice has a history of increasing prices arbitrarily. Between 2009 and 2017, prices have increased eight times, averaging a change in their prices every two years. A timeline of past price hikes
The first increase was in September 2009 which coincided with the introduction of a low-cost bouquet, DStv Access at N1,500 and an increase in the prices of DStv Compact and Premium. In April 2011, prices went up again. DStv premium went from N9,500 to N10,300 as well as other bouquets except for Access which was left unchanged at N1,500.
August 2012 saw a 10% increase in all its bouquets. DStv Premium was increased from N10,000 to N11,000. Access was again left unchanged at N1,500. The increase was attributed to the rise in inflation and operational costs. August 2015, witnessed a 20% increase in all its bouquets. DStv went from N11,650 to N13,980. DStv Access subscribers now had to pay N1,800 as against the previous rate of N1,500.
A careful look at the increase shows DStv Premium has increased by 55% in eight years from N9,000 in 2009 to N13,980 in 2017. DStv Access has gone up by 26% from its inception in 2009.