Econet near to launching pay TV service called ipidi

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar

Econet Wireless, it is emerging, will be launching  a new subscription and “pay as you go” TV service called ipidi in the coming weeks to few months. A job advert for a marketing director that the company posted to its website last week Wednesday shows the company is looking to fill the position, in their words, “as soon as possible” for the South African market.

It’s not clear yet how the service will work but it will have a set-top box and indications from the advert are that Econet is looking to compete with the expensive TV options on the market. We’re guessing this means they’re gunning for Multichoice’s DStv but we could be wrong. The new marketing director, the ad says, needs to “very quickly establish it in the SA market as a desirable, aspirational and dependable alternative to the more expensive TV options that are currently available.”

That Econet Wireless International was looking to do pay TV is not new news. Liquid Telecom did indicate back in November that they were working on something for the Kenyan market come 2014. Nothing further was mentioned regarding the Kenyan launch, or a Zimbabwean launch that was supposed to follow.

Well, nothing except this mention that the company has apparently quietly started the ipidi rollout in Kenya and ZimbabweSeeing none of the people at Liquid Telecom Zimbabwe have so far agreed that they are already working on an IPTV product (the Liquid Zimbabwe MD denied this at our recently held Broadband Forum), we’re guessing they are moving super stealth with this one, for reasons best known to them. But if it is indeed true that Zimbabwe is moving already, those stealth operation reasons likely have more to do with licensing than anything else.

Indeed it looks like the only market Econet Wireless is happy to be launching in without careful treading is the South African one. However and whatever the reasons, ipidi has come, and Econet is looking to sell the first 150,000 set top boxes soon.



  1. Munya Bloggo

    Makes sence why Mr Makamure was evasive at the broadband forum. lol It will be a great initiative for local content.

  2. Robert Ndlovu

    Yeah soon they will be launching EcoDollar !

  3. ic0n1c

    The Zim market is heavily regulated in terms of any broadcasting service. Surely they might have applied for a license from BAZ but there is not set law governing pay tv… I am sure issues to do with content need to be discussed at length. And then come fees! FEES will be astronomical, the service wont be cheap as expected…

    1. Munya Bloggo

      It will probably be high end. In Borrowdale every house is 500m away from a fibre optic cable. Their current telecoms licence makes provision for them to do so. Liquid is massive it makes business sence to do so.

      1. Anonymous

        some areas have fibre close to houses as well. i stay in greendale and fibre is less than 500m from my house. a friend of mine in highlands got his connected last week. so its not just borrowdale

  4. Gazprom

    As far as I remember the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Services Act crafted by Jonathan Moyo clearly state that A Cellular Operator cannot own a Television or Radio Station. I recall this was enacted by Moyo sometime around 2002 in order to deny Masiyiwa an opportunity to break into the television industry. Masiyiwa has always been a threat to Zanu PF and that is the reason why it is so. Econet will have to wait for those laws to be repealed or revised before they can move in. As far as it stands at the moment Telecommunications licensees can only be Signal Carriers and not broadcasters themselves however a way around this is to run a Teleport or Content Distribution centre maybe it might work that way see a potion of the Act below

    19 Limitation of cross-ownership between broadcasters, signal carrier licensees,
    newspapers, telecommunications licensees and advertising agents
    (1) No broadcasting licensee—
    (a) shall own, control or hold any securities in another broadcasting licensee;
    (b) shall own or control a newspaper or more than ten per centum of the
    securities in a body corporate owning or controlling a newspaper.
    (2) A broadcasting licensee and a signal carrier licensee shall not be owned o r
    controlled by the same person, nor shall broadcasting licensees and signal carrier
    licensees hold securities in each other.
    (3) Licensees and persons licensed under the Postal and Telecommunications Act
    [Chapter 12:05] (other than private telecommunications licensees as defined in that
    Act, or individuals licensed in terms of subsection (1) of section 33 of that Act) shall
    not own, control or hold securities in each other

    1. Munya Bloggo

      Its not Broadcasting its a streaming service, they don’t need a licence their current licence covers that.

      1. Gazprom

        So you have not read the Broadcasting services Act!!! Even internet streaming is regulated by that Act

  5. Anonymous

    they wont own a tv station. i am assuming that they will provide tv over internet and hence offer tv/broadband packages for customers. this may start of expensive but as more people access these services they will become cheaper over time.

  6. Edith Utete

    Econet will definitely have to engage BAZ at some point to ensure that the law is not broken. The Broadcasting Services Act and subsidiary regulations do have provisions to cater for the proposed services whether it’s content distribution or internet tv. Econet could also check with Potraz for certainty.

    1. ic0n1c

      POTRAZ is lost on this issue. At the broadband forum they came short of saying, “We don’t know what to do” in terms of IPTV and any video streaming services that may be offered by telecommunications operators.

  7. Laudzer

    When POTRAZ comes to know it’s Econet gunning for streaming services they will just sit on the licence.

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