As easy as 123, the state-owned telecommunications company, Telone has been awarded a Video On Demand (VOD) broadcasting license by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ).
Video on demand (VOD) is an interactive TV technology that allows subscribers to view programming in real time or download programs and view them later.
The VOD license is the one we said was not necessary to award because Netflix and Youtube are not licensed yet Zimbabweans use the services. In a way, Kwese and Telone are just being made to pay for a license that Netflix and YouTube don’t have yet they provide VOD services here.
The license comes a week after Kwese was awarded three broadcasting licenses including the Vod license. Like Kwese’s license, the license area of Telone’s license is National meaning that the service will be served the whole of Zimbabwe (if they can do that).
The telco had initially set June last year as the time frame to roll out it VOD services, but this had to be postponed to meet the regulator’s licensing conditions.
The company is currently wholly invested in the provision of landline voice calling services and ADSL internet services. Last year, the parastatal stated that it is racing to move from depending on these two services which are slowly becoming redundant because of new technologies, the cellular network, and broadband. In light of this, Telone has sought to venture into broadcasting as it would allow it to expand its service to customers as well as diversify its revenues. Not forgetting that last year it reported an astounding $25 million loss.
VOD services require a high-speed broadband internet connection Requiring at least 0.5 Megabits per second broadband connection speed. Considering that Telone’s internet speeds are relatively low, we can expect that VOD service won’t be introduced before they migrate to broadband internet services.
But Telone once said that the VoD services would be delivered via a network it has been building since 2015 after having secured US$98 million in finance from the Exim Bank of China.
Telone Vod license will soon make VoD ecosystem in Zimbabwe very competitive with the incumbent MultiChoice and the Kwese TV fighting for market share.
Not forgetting that the ecosystem had become highly polarized following the decision of BAZ to revoke Kwese TV’s Dr. Dish license. A move that was challenged before the Supreme Court which ruled in favor of Kwese TV and directed the authority to reverse its earlier decision on the license. Eventually, Kwese applied for its own license and they received it last week.