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Sale of digital set-top boxes takes a plunge

The sale of set-top boxes which convert analogue to digital signals has slowed down following the extension of the digital migration date to February 12 after a court ruling last month.

The ruling came after Nation Media Group, Standard Media and the Royal Media Services went to court to stop the analogue switch-off.

With about half of Nairobi TV owners yet to get the boxes, the ruling has come as a big relief.

“I think Nairobi residents love crises. They ignore matters and wait for the last minute to act,” said Keith Isidi, a sales agent at Multichoice who has pitched tent on Harambee Avenue.

He said at the approach of the previous deadlines of December 13 and 23, 2013, many agents ran out of stock.

“The deadlines got people buying the gadgets. On December 23, we had run out of the boxes. We closed shop before sunset to avoid the many customers whose needs we could no longer meet,” he added.

From December 23 to January 31, the sales went on as usual as expected and revenue was impressive.

But now Nairobi residents seem to be in no hurry.

From selling an average of 100 boxes a day, the agents are currently struggling to sell even five.

This, in part, is attributed to the Christmas and New Year spending and the back-to-school demands. Economists have also said 2014 will be a tough year and Nairobians are being cautious.

Isidi is hopeful that towards the end of January, Nairobians will flock to the shops again in a bid to beat the migration deadline.

“There are more important things to take care of at the moment such as school fees and text books. I hope to buy the box before the deadline,” said Mary Mwenda, a teacher.

The sentiments were echoed by Julius Maloba, an accountant in Industrial Area. He said he had spent a fortune bringing his family back to the city from their rural home in Kimilili.