Econet Global has deliberately transformed itself into a Technology Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Business. It is a no brainer that telcos have to radically transform themselves and their business models if they are to survive. Revenue from traditional telecom services like voice has declined, is declining and will continue to decline as over the top services continue to chew telco lunch.
Looks like one of the other Zimbabwean telcos wants to give Econet a run for the money on the TMT business model. Dr Dish CEO says they want to make their satellite television content accessible via mobile in partnership with a local telco. It sounds the talks have not been concluded yet though. He says:
We are in advanced talks with a local Telco to rollout “Television everywhere” for all our various Satellite products via a Mobile Application .
Of course we will want to know early on who that local telco is, we have our guesses…
The former partner to Kwese has a new shareholder who seems to have given them a boost of confidence.
If anything Nyasha Muzavazi’s Dr Dish have a lot of optimism. They have declared that they are targeting 100 million subscribers across Africa in the next 5 to 7 years. That sounds very ambitious given that their estimates are that outside South Africa, Multichoice sits at just below 10 million subscribers.
Partnerships seem to be the chief strategy Dr Dish is pursuing. They say they have an agreement with the Zimbabwe Council of Churches which gives them access to 300 000 households and they are pursuing an agreement with the Zionists Christian Church of Zimbabwe which they say will push the number of homes they have access to to 800 000 in the region.
We don’t know yet what these agreements actually mean but we will obviously be pursuing this. Remember they say they have engaged the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to roll out what they are calling Tele-Learning and so far the talks are at an advanced stage. In fact, the proposal has passed various approvals at Ministry level and now with the office of the Deputy Chief Secretary in the President’s office and Cabinet.
A Dr Dish official however said that part of the core of their offering will be SABC content such as Generations, Isidingo, 7 De Laan and Muvhango amoung others. They say that they have rights to this content for SABC. Between September 2013 and February 2014 Dr Dish’s BOSTV was airing this SABC content free to air. They believe this is still very popular content which will attract subscribers to their service.
Techzim looks forward to probe all these partnerships to understand how Dr Dish thinks they will leverage on these. I am usually skeptical when it comes to growing business on the back of partnerships and arrangements with ‘gatekeepers.’ I believe the days of the access economy are over. Distribution channels are important however, so if these agreements are strict and clear distribution agreements then maybe they make sense to me.