Kenyan mobile providers will need to offer free mobile TV to increase subscription levels

Technology & Convergence

According to Emmanuel Were writing in Business Daily Africa that giving Free access to mobile television is crucial to winning clients. "Kenyan mobile phone services providers and broadcasters will have to allow free access to users watching television on their mobile phones to attract substantial subscriber numbers before they charge for the service, industry analysts said.

Participants at the 2009 Hong Kong Electronics Fair said evidence from Japan and South Korea - who make up nearly a half of the world’s mobile TV subscribers - indicates that free access to TV services can help mobile phone firms to build client numbers.

In Kenya only Safaricom, out of the four mobile phone firms, has rolled out a mobile TV service.The mobile provider partnered with premium satellite content provider DSTV and national broadcaster KBC to introduce the service in October 2007. Sources at DSTV said that the firm was yet to implement a charging module for the service as it was still considered a trial service, saying the firm would keep the broadcasts free as it rolled out the service to all enabled handsets which can receive broadcasts.

Initial plans had indicated that consumers would be charged Sh1,000 to access 10 channels in a month, and could only access the broadcasts using specific phone models." If this practice is not rocket science and definitely increases subscription take up, it has not been applied by most mobile service providers most probably due to regulatory barriers, market limitations, lack of funds or delay in infrastructure set up.”