Mobile service provider Safaricom is set to venture into the Pay TV space after applying for a digital broadcasting licence. Safaricom is said to have sought approval for set top boxes from the Communication Authority of Kenya. The companies entry into the space is in line with its diversification plan to reduce its reliance on the Voice Market.
Safaricom CEO told Bloomberg News in an interview last year that the TV product will allow consumers to buy a preferred program such as a documentary or a movie and watch it through devices like tablets, smartphones or televisions. “People want to decide when they want to consume; they don’t want you to tell them. That immediacy is, I think, how the future will be defined.” he said.
Safaricom is likely to offer the service in a Triple play model as one used by Wananchi Group’s Zuku. Under the triple play model, Telephony, Cable television and high-speed Internet service are offered under a single bundle/ subscription. The TV portion of the service includes a wide choice of cable channels and music channels and may include other TV-related services such as messaging, interactive viewing and gaming.
The key consideration in the Internet connection is adequate bandwidth and Safaricom has recently invested heavily in a 4G internet network which will be instrumental in the delivery of the service.
Safaricom is not the first major Telco to venture into this space with Rogers Wireless and Bell of Canada having heavily invested into the provision of triple and quadruple play modeled bundles. Speculation is rife that the service could either cost KES. 499 a month for the entire bundle consisting of 35 TV channels and the Free to air channels, or that it could be fully free to air with an option for internet content via SIM card slot. The decoders are set to cost KES. 3,499.