Vodacom/Naspers content partnership?

Vodacom is in discussions with Nasper about access to its television content, according to reports, which may lead to Vodacom using content from Multichoice, a broadcast division of Africa’s largest media company, to offer to users of its phone and Internet network.

Naspers operates satellite television in South Africa and 48 countries on the continent, making the Cape Town-based company the dominant provider of pay-TV in sub-Saharan Africa.

“With connection speeds rising and data prices continuing to fall, the delivery of music and video content via mobile is becoming increasingly viable,” Vodacom spokesman Richard Boorman said by e-mail. “We’re exploring a number of opportunities along these lines but it’s too early to comment in detail.”

Vodacom’s potential tie-up with Naspers comes as other Africa-focused telcos look to expand into higher-margin data accessed on smartphones as voice revenue declines. Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest phone company, said last week it plans to begin selling bundled Internet and television services for on-demand viewing.

“If you want to take a step to personalized TV, possibly there is a way of utilising a smartphone or device to distribute content over,” Fredrik Jejdling, head of sub-Saharan Africa for Stockholm-based Ericsson AB, said in an interview in Cape Town yesterday. “A smartphone is the most desirable consumer device in Africa.”

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