Safaricom launches mobile broadband connected STB

Friday, May 8th, 2015
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Safaricom signals entry into TV market with home broadband solution

NAIROBI, Kenya — Safaricom (NSE: SCOM) has today announced the launch of a unique hybrid data solution that will enable subscribers to view TV content and share data connectivity as it targets the largely untapped home market.

Known as ‘The BigBox’, the DVB-T2 device will enable subscribers to leverage Safaricom’s extensive 3G and growing 4G data network to access content via a unique set top box offering.

“Our vision is to enable a differentiated broadband internet solution that will enable our subscribers to harness the power of the internet to watch new and exciting content from anywhere in the world from the comfort of their homes,” said Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom.

As the first product that Safaricom has optimized for its growing 4G network, the BigBox will offer subscribers access to several TV channels in High Definition (HD) format, as well as allow subscribers to watch content on demand through online video services such as YouTube.

The device can also serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to ten users, supporting data-heavy applications and making it the market’s first wholesome internet product that caters for the growing number of customers who are looking for an integrated home entertainment solution.

“This market first is only possible through our continued investment in building a robust data network which can support the provision of data heavy services to our subscribers. The BigBox is inspired by our continued focus to democratize data use across all segments of society,” said Mr. Collymore.

Safaricom hopes to target untapped demand in the home broadband market as well as reach the estimated 2.4 Million households out of the 3.2 million households that have access to digital television sets but are not using any of the set top boxes currently available in the market.

The BigBox will be available to subscribers through two payment plans. The first option will allow subscribers to access the set-top box through a six month installment plan that will cost them an initial Sh4,999 with an additional Sh999 being charged monthly for six months.

The package includes access to free-to-air TV stations as well as an allocation of up to 6GB a month in data bundles in addition to free Youtube viewing.

An alternative option allows the subscriber to purchase the set-top box for a one-off fee of Sh9,999 to access free-to-air channels, up to 6GB in data bundles a month and free YouTube access. Subscribers can also opt to buy bundles of up to 50GB for just Sh4,000.

Customers will be able to top up their balances by buying monthly bundles using their airtime or M-PESA using predefined USSD and WAP interfaces.

‘The Box’ will be available in all Safaricom shops and will be available in all major cities across the country.