Safricom targets TV

Safricom, Kenya’s biggest telco, plans to begin selling bundled Internet and TV services for on-demand viewing within the next 12 months, Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said.

“We will provide aggregation of content and delivery of content,” Collymore told Bloomberg. “Certainly within the year, we could be playing relatively prominently in that space.”

The bundles, available on devices including tablet computers, mobile phones and television sets, are aimed at tapping revenue streams beyond the company’s core voice service. Competition in Kenya’s telecommunications market three years ago triggered a price war, causing a sharp reduction in mobile-phone call rates that led companies to expand into new lines of data business to attract subscribers.

“We will become a content provider to several forms of media including TV stations and YouTube,” Collymore said, without providing more details. “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.”

Sales growth from M-Pesa, Safaricom’s mobile phone money-transfer system, Internet and text-message services has outpaced revenue from voice for at least the past three years, according to the company’s latest annual report. Still, the share of revenue from phone calls was 60 per cent of total sales in the year through March versus about a third for non-voice.

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