(Last Updated On: March 5, 2015)
Telecommunications giant Safaricom is now set to move into the next level ahead of its rivals. This is by venturing into the digital TV and home internet space. It will now go head to head with Zuku, the only other company providing both services to the Kenyan market.
Safaricom have received approval for a set-top box and also have applied for a digital broadcasting license which is yet to be approved since the regulator is considering the impact of television signals on the quality of telecom services.
According to Bob Collymore, Safaricom are mainly interested in providing home internet to households who already own a TV set hence are selling the internet and TV as a package. It will use the universal set-top box which will give buyers access to all free-to-air TV channels.
The three big broadcasters in Kenya came together to form a single company called ADN (Africa Digital Network). It will also distribute the universal set-top box that will come with add-ons such as wireless internet. This means they may end up in direct competition with Safaricom for the home internet market.
ADN currently commands 87% of TV market and 80% of radio audiences due to their early entry into the market and creating massive brand awareness. To provide internet they will have to get partners or invest in their own infrastructure which may be very capital intensive. Safaricom already has its own infrastructure plus massive revenues to make it better. 4G internet makes it even easier to distribute internet to a wider area without the need to instal hundreds of cables all over.