MultiChoice Malawi have called on its subscribers to replace the old smartcards after changing its software to avoid hackers.
MultiChoice says for subscribers to continue accessing their programming they need to exchange their cards and prepare their decoders for future enhancements. Smartcards help decode the programming information from satellites to the decoder and hackers infiltrated the system and the introduction of the new software will bar illegal tapping into their programming.
Communication sent to subscribers indicates that failure to replace the old smartcards with new ones will disable subscribers from receiving the DStv signal.
MultiChoice Malawi regional manager for Central and Northern Regions, Titania Katenga-Kaunda told Bizcommunity that this is the company’s continuous effort to combat piracy of DStv across the platforms.
“MultiChoice embarked on swap outs of all smartcards up to and including Version 5.3 at no cost to the subscribers and this process will be done by 31st March 2012,” she said.
She said in terms of communication, their corporate office sent a forced digital satellite decoder message to affected subscribers only and they hope the campaign for all affected smartcards should have been swapped out by the set date.
Those that will not have swapped their cards after the deadline will be required to purchase a new smartcard.
Although the company says it is swapping all versions up to and including V5.3 of their smartcards at no cost, but where both decoder and smartcard needs to be swapped, the subscriber will have to pay a fee for the new decoder. Older Model 660-720i decoders are the ones on the line for swapping.
Subscribers in Malawi have been cramming MultiChoice offices to make the swap. Those that qualified for the swapping are the subscribers whose decoders and smartcards are working and one thing to consider before identifying affected smartcard version are those written on the bottom under the gold chip.
The swapping process takes approximately 5-10 minutes which includes replacing the old smartcard, and reload services on the new smartcard. MultiChoice is only conducting swaps for smartcard ranges SC Models, KUZETA1, MCASKU2, Philips S/C, IS7 and more.
People residing at a distance of over 500 kilometers from MultiChoice centres have cried foul on the conduct of the exercise, saying it is not financially plausible for them.
“I have to travel over 500 kilometers from here in Chitipa and travel to Lilongwe for merely changing my smartcard and decoder?” questioned Myoto Chiona.
He said MultiChoice Malawi should have thought of better ways of assisting them. When asked on this issue, Katenga-Kaunda said the swap process was supposed to be internal not for public consumption.
“We communicated to our subscriber on the swap out and it may not be possible for subscribers in Chitipa to come all the way to Lilongwe,” she said.
She still insisted that the reason why subscribers needed to replace their smartcard at no charge was to continue accessing their programming.
Katenga-Kaunda said if they don’t then their decoders will no longer be able to receive the DStv signal.
“As MultiChoice Malawi, we do have agents across the country and the subscribers need to take their decoder and old smartcard to their nearest agent for the process to take place,” she said.