Today, a group that seems to be Sub-saharan Africa’s largest triple play (internet, TV, and voice) service provider, Wananchi, announced that it has raised $130 million to expand its operations in countries in the region that include Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and its home, Kenya. This probably means that in countries like Zambia where Wananchi’s brands had limited market visibility, we will start seeing it more and more.
The money comes from existing shareholders (Altice S.A., Liberty Global, ATMT and Emerging Capital Partners.) as well as a new investor, the Africa-focused private investment firm, Helios Investment Partners. Altice, Liberty and Helios are said to have contributed c.85% of the round.
Established in 2008, the Wananchi Group took its name from Wananchi Online which was Kenya’s largest ISP. Using its extensive fibre network, Wananchi has managed to position its Zuku pay TV services as an alternative to Sub-saharan Africa’s leader of pay TV, Multichoice. Zuku also has triple play services that Multichoice, because of the lack of an terrestrial infrastructure arm, just can’t provide at the moment. Outside Kenya, Wananchi currently offers satellite TV services, in direct competition to Multichoice.
Other companies on the continent that are looking to compete in the same triple play space aggressively include the Econet Wireless Group which indicated last year it would be entering the pay TV market. Econet Group subsidiary company, Liquid Telecom, is currently expanding its terrestrial fibre network on the continent and through its retail arm already offers 2 (voice and broadband) of the triple play components in Zimbabwe.
Back to Wananchi, information suggests the company intends to “extend its millions of potential subscribers and a wide range of client devices, with the introduction of digital terrestrial TV (DTT) and over-the-top (OTT) video-on-demand (VOD) services.”
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