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ITWeb Africa

Tuesday, Nov 19th

Zambia: TopStar moves to quell continuity concerns

Zambia: TopStar moves to quell continuity concerns

In the wake of increasing competition in Zambia's digital television market, digital pay television station TopStar Communications Limited is understood to be struggling to raise enough revenue to repay the US$273-million loan secured from China for the country's digital migration project.

A source within TopStar Communications, under condition of anonymity, told ITWeb Africa that the company is battling to raise enough revenue to sustain its operation and even begin to repay the loan – adding that the company has struggled to roll out the network of transmitters nationally, despite previous assurances of coverage by December 2018.

"What I know is that Topstar is not correcting enough revenue to run a proper operation and to start paying back the loan that the Zambian government got from China for the digital migration project. The company is even failing to rollout digital transmitters across the country," the source said.

Addressing the media recently, TopStar vice president Cliff Sichone said the company is still young and has only been in Zambia for two years.

He said while the company is "faring well" against increased competition and was growing according to targets, he acknowledged that revenue generation remains critical.

Sichone said the company must reach the point where it will start generating sufficient revenue to sustain operations and repaying the loan. He added that the company has installed 65 digital transmitters, with only six remaining to conclude the installation process.

"We are in the right trajectory and you can tell from the distribution of the network of transmitters. In comparison to players on the market, we have been disruptive in the sense that tradition TV has been changed, to a larger extent," he said.

TopStar is a joint venture between China's StarTimes (60% shareholder) and the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) (40% shareholder).

TopStar competes against GOtv, DStv, Kwese, Zuku and Muvi television, among other operators.

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