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MagtiCom Launches Satellite Pay-TV
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 17 Jan.'12 / 17:40

Georgian mobile phone operator, MagtiCom, announced on Tuesday, that it would launch the first-ever digital satellite pay-TV service in Georgia under the brand name MagtiSat from January 23.

With its direct-to-home (DTH) television platform the service will offer international standard and high definition (SD and HD) channels, which will be available for reception throughout the country with dishes sized at 60cm.

The satellite pay-TV, however, will not carry Georgian channels, at least for now; still ongoing talks with the Georgian channels has been cited by MagtiCom as the reason behind absence of the local channels in the MagtiSat’s packages. 

Tbilisi-based Maestro TV, which is now mainly available in the capital city via cable networks after suspending satellite broadcasting following a standoff between its managing firm and owners, confirmed having negotiations with MagtiSat. Its director, Bacho Kikabidze, told Civil.ge on Tuesday that Maestro TV was ready for cooperation with MagtiSat. Maestro TV is not available in packages offered by one of the largest cable networks, Silk TV, which Maestro TV says is a politically-motivated decision on the part of Silk TV, which is part of Silknet communications company, owned by Silk Road Group, Georgian conglomerate with business interests in transportation, telecommunications, banking and property development..

Nino Jangirashvili, owner of Kavkasia TV, another Tbilisi-based channel which like Maestro TV is critical of government, said that her channel had not yet been approached by MagtiSat. “I hope they will,” Jangirashvili told Civil.ge on Tuesday.

Imedi TV, a nationwide broadcaster, said it was in talks with MagtiSat; position of another largest and most-watched nationwide broadcaster Rustavi 2 was not immediately available.  

MagtiSat’s satellite pay-TV will cost GEL 60 to install (installing HD receiver will cost GEL 100) and then GEL 10 monthly fee for a 20-channel package and GEL 35 for 70-channel package, plus GEL 15 for those who will in addition also choose to have five HD channels. 

The world’s one of the largest satellite operators, SES, is providing capacity on its satellite fleet for the MagtiCom’s pay-TV service.

First Georgian pay-TV service was launched in early 2011 by GMG, which offers six channels via cable networks, not through satellite. After the launch of GMG, local cable TV providers ceased carrying production of Russian pay-TV provider NTV Plus.

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