Multichoice Nigeria Fined N150 Million by Tribunal, Free DStv and GOtv Subscriptions Ordered

Multichoice Nigeria Fined N150 Million by Tribunal, Free DStv and GOtv Subscriptions Ordered Jun, 8 2024

Multichoice Nigeria Faces Tribunal's Wrath

In a significant move aimed at safeguarding consumer rights, the Nigerian Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) has handed down a hefty fine of N150 million to Multichoice Nigeria. This decision comes after the company challenged the tribunal's jurisdiction and implemented a price hike on its DStv and GOtv services, ignoring the tribunal's interim orders. The ruling also mandates that Multichoice offer a month of free subscriptions to Nigerians, a gesture meant to cushion the impact of the recent price increase.

Background of the Case

On April 24th, Multichoice Nigeria announced a price increase for its DStv and GOtv packages, a move that sparked widespread discontent among its customer base. Just five days later, the CCPT intervened with an interim order to restrain the company from implementing the new pricing structure. Rather than complying, Multichoice chose to challenge the tribunal's authority, a decision that led to intensified legal scrutiny.

Judicial Authority Challenged

Multichoice's challenge to the tribunal's jurisdiction was seen as a bold, albeit risky, maneuver. On April 30th, the company filed a preliminary objection, questioning the tribunal's mandate to preside over the issue. However, this challenge did not sit well with the tribunal. Led by Thomas Okosu, the three-man panel concluded that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) Act, specifically section 39(2), grants the tribunal the jurisdiction to hear cases related to all commercial activities in the country. This ruling underscored the tribunal's authority in handling consumer protection matters.

Implications of the Tribunal's Ruling

Implications of the Tribunal's Ruling

By dismissing Multichoice's preliminary objection, the tribunal sent a clear message about its commitment to upholding consumer rights. Okosu emphasized that ignoring the tribunal's interim orders and proceeding with the price hike constituted a grave violation. In response, the tribunal not only imposed the N150 million fine but also mandated a one-month free subscription period for all DStv and GOtv subscribers in Nigeria. This order serves as both a punitive and remedial measure, aiming to rectify the company's disregard for regulatory orders.

Financial Repercussions

The N150 million fine is a significant monetary penalty for Multichoice Nigeria, a sum that reflects the gravity of their actions. More importantly, the requirement to offer one month of free subscriptions has far-reaching financial implications for the company. Providing complimentary service to potentially millions of subscribers is expected to result in substantial revenue losses. However, the tribunal’s decision is seen as a necessary step to ensure companies respect regulatory frameworks and prioritize consumer welfare.

Consumer Reaction and Regulatory Impact

Consumers have largely welcomed the tribunal's ruling. For many, the price hike had come as a sudden and unwelcome financial burden, particularly in a challenging economic climate. The tribunal’s decision not only alleviates immediate financial strain but also demonstrates that regulatory bodies are willing to take firm action to protect consumer interests. This ruling may also set a precedent, encouraging other companies to adhere more closely to consumer protection regulations and tribunal orders.

Future Implications for Multichoice

While the immediate impacts of the tribunal's ruling are clear, the long-term ramifications for Multichoice Nigeria remain to be seen. The company will need to reassess its compliance strategies and possibly its pricing policies in response to this legal setback. The ruling could also influence how Multichoice conducts its operations in other markets, prompting a more cautious approach to regulatory compliance.



The tribunal's decision to fine Multichoice Nigeria and mandate a free subscription period is a landmark ruling in the realm of consumer protection in Nigeria. By asserting its jurisdiction and imposing significant penalties, the tribunal has reinforced its role as a guardian of consumer rights. For Multichoice, this ruling serves as a stark reminder of the importance of regulatory compliance and the potential consequences of defiance. As consumers enjoy their month of free services, the broader industry is likely to take note, ensuring that consumer interests remain at the forefront of corporate decision-making.