Court fines Multichoice ₦150m, mandates one-month free subscription

The Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal has fined the prominent Pay-TV operator, Multichoice Nigeria, owners of DSTV, GOTV, ₦150 million for disputing the court’s jurisdiction, and ordered the company to provide Nigerians with a one-month free subscription to its subscribers.

A three-man panel led by Thomas Okusu gave the verdict on Friday.

The tribunal had previously blocked Multichoice from raising subscription fees without proper notice, based on a lawsuit by Barrister Festus Onifade who claimed the eight-day notice given for the price increase was inadequate.

Onifade had sued DSTV, accusing the Pay-TV of unjustly increasing subscription fees without one month’s notice to customers and leveraging on it to seek interim orders.

Counsel for Multichoice had contended that previous rulings had settled price regulation issues, while Onifade focused on the inadequate notice rather than the price hike itself, prompting the tribunal to affirm its jurisdiction and rule against Multichoice.

The court subsequently fixed July 3 for a hearing of the plaintiff’s substantive suit.