Kenya - DStv Launches Mobile TV with Safaricom

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008
DStv logo

NAIROBI — Safaricom and DStv today announced the launch of the first Kenyan commercial Mobile TV service available only on selected handsets.

The service will initially be available in Nairobi and will serve up a total of 10 local and International channels including Super Sport Update, Super Sport 3, CNN, BBC World, KBC, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), Channel O, Cartoon Network, Magic World, and Africa Magic. Customers will also be able to access news and entertainment based websites via their phones.

The Mobile TV service can be viewed on Mobile TV enabled handsets which will be available from DSTV Dealers and Nairobi based Safaricom Retail Outlets for a retail price of KShs. 25,000. Subscription to the service will be free until 30th June 2008; from 1st July 2008 customers will pay a subscription fee of Kshs 1,000.

“In order to receive the DStv Mobile service, Kenyan consumers will have to acquire a mobile phone that is specially configured to receive DVB-H broadcasts and is programmed for this purpose in Kenya. These handsets will be available at any of our Retail centers in Nairobi and from DSTV Dealers. Upon purchase of the handset one will enjoy the service for free until the end of June; thereafter from 1st July 2008 customers will need to pay only 1,000 Kshs as subscription fee. One can top up for the service using the existing Safaricom airtime vouchers.” said Michael Joseph, Safaricom CEO.

“This is a significant day for both Safaricom and Multichoice; this launch signifies a revolutionary step especially in this market, in the development of our distinct industries,” said Joseph. “We have been working on this partnership for the past one year and today’s launch finally delivers what we have been promising our subscribers all along – unequivocal audio-visual content streamed to your mobile phone handsets in a simple manner.”

Speaking at the launch, Digital Mobile TV (DMTV) Chief Finance Officer, Mr. Nicolas Katsikides, said “It is with a great sense of satisfaction and expectation that I welcome you to the launch of DStv Mobile, one of the world’s most eagerly anticipated consumer technologies. This is a proud moment for us in Kenya as we are one of the first countries to launch mobile television not only in Africa but also in the world. I would like to thank the Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation and Safaricom for the assistance and support they have given us in making this all possible.”

DVB-H is regarded as the world’s leading mobile broadcast technology standard and allows for the digital terrestrial broadcast of live television channels to a mobile phone. It differs from third generation (“3G”) Mobile Telephony in that DVB-H is a one-to-many transmission on a linear basis and uses broadcasting infrastructure, while 3G uses telephony infrastructure that delivers point-to-point services. DVB-H therefore uses scarce bandwidth much more effectively than 3G technologies. 3G and DVB-H can, however, be complementary, especially in the provision of return path service for live television (i.e. voting from Big Brother, etc) or similar services. This technology is very effective as it improves robustness in the very difficult reception environments of indoor and outdoor and lowers battery power consumption in mobile phones.