Safaricom To Diversify into TV Content


Safaricom plans to expand into selling on-demand television services. Aimed at mobile devices the new service extends beyond the company’s core revenue stream which is brought in by voice services. The mobile provider has experienced growth from its mobile money transfer service, M-Pesa. This is now one of the main sources of Safaricom’s revenue along with SMS and internet services.

The company plans to roll out 4G network infrastructure which will serve it well in the delivery of on-demand video and other media services to its customers. CCK has announced plans for the switch to digital broadcasting which begin this year. This will free up the spectrum allowing for other services to be provided to customers. It will now be easier for content providers to broadcast multimedia content with the 700Mhz and 800MHz bands becoming available.

“We are asking the government to make sure there is an open, equitable and transparent allocation of that spectrum. We will snatch our share when it is available because we are ready to roll LTE,” says Bob Collymore, Safaricom CEO.

Safaricom plans to eliminate the 10% commission which it pays to Vodafone by creating a platform to handle M-Pesa transactions. Vodafone currently holds a 40% stake in the local company. The platform is under development and will be completed between April and September 2015 at a cost of 25 billion shillings. After the upgrade, transactions will be handled at the rate of 600 per second with the ability to scale up. Over 90% of mobile payments in country are handled through M-Pesa which contributes to half of the global mobile money payments.