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Roku Says Econet Is Shutting Down Kwese Play And Is No Longer In Partnership With Them

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Yesterday, people started receiving an error message on their Kwese Play streaming boxes which read:

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Econet no longer offers Kwese Play. For more information contact Econet.

Econet calmed the storm and said they were in discussion with Roku and would inform customers of the resolution of these discussions

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Pan-African broadcaster, Econet Media, has noted that today customers received a notification on their devices that they have been deactivated.

Kwesé Play service was launched in partnership with Roku, a US-based OTT streaming platform. We have been in discussions with Roku regarding the viability of the Kwesé Play service.
The closure of the service and the message relayed on the device this morning was unexpected and comes at a time when we are engaged in discussions with Roku about their future plans on Africa.
We apologise for the inconvenience and are working on resolving this. Detailed communication will be provided to all customers in due course.

It seems their partner in this issue, Roku has a different stance, as they have claimed that their licensed partnership with Econet came to an end and they did not seem to mention anything about on-going discussions. In fact, Roku’s statement claims that Econet is shutting down Kwese Play:

Econet licensed our platform to deliver the Kwesé Play streaming service to its customers. Econet is shutting down the Kwesé Play service and is no longer working with Roku. For more information contact Kwesé/Econet.

Now considering that Econet was licensing the platform, one suspects that there was a failure to keep up with licensing payments (which is not entirely new to Kwese).

Another issue you seriously have to question is whether or ZOL (who were among the distributors of the streaming box) took advantage of their customers as they continued to give out Kwese Play boxes to customers at discounted prices and as value addition when they increased pricing of their uncapped packages. We asked ZOL representatives whether they knew of any disputes between Kwese and Roku and they are yet to respond at the time of going to press.

Kwese Play would be the second Kwese offering to bite the dust if Roku’s statement is entirely accurate and there are no ongoing negotiations in the background. Last year, Kwese TV (the satellite offering) was also abandoned after failing to convince consumers to part with their money for what most viewed as a lacklustre content roster.

We’ve also reached out to Econet’s Media Relations Exec Fungai Mandiveyi to get an understanding of whether discussions to restore Kwese Play service are still ongoing or if Roku’s position is accurate and final. This article will be updated once he has responded.


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29 thoughts on “Roku Says Econet Is Shutting Down Kwese Play And Is No Longer In Partnership With Them

  1. Well what do you expect another Zimbabwe entity that would rather lie than tell the truth(Eskom issue aside). When will Zimbabweans learn the lies never ever pay off, for what is supposedly a Christian based country, the country has a very unchristian approach to everything.

  2. Econet inoda kutijairira last time we were left with useless decoders and this time again. They must do enough research before launching some of their programs

  3. My Question is will be able to use other services on the box like YouTube and Netflix MN

    1. From what i am hearing from friends, the box is entirely dead, guys tried using netflix and youtube on its own and wouldn’t work for them – there certainly seems to be a mix in behaviour possibly depending on the version of firmware on the box at the time the service was cut…

      1. The box is useless now not a single application remained on the list including all the default apps.

    1. I sell android boxes fully installed with free channels ND movies u will not need dstv too

  4. are we going to hve our money bck on this Roku equuipment if their negotiations fails wat is thy option for us who hve been relying on this Roku moderm

    1. please let me know if this is possible and how to do this – I only want to watch YouTube & Netflix in any event

  5. I got mine in South Africa. How will you give me a refund? It is winter holiday. In the Freestate it is to cold for kids to play outside all day, so they watch movies and series a lot. What am I supposed to do now? I want a refund, I paid R1000.00 for this box only 7 months back.
    I am not waiting for a next time.

  6. Another option is the Android TV itself or an Android TV box. I personally use an Mxq Pro 4k. It is best for streaming content to a TV not for playing downloaded media files as these do not always work perfectly due to the issue of codecs.

  7. This is really frustrating and robbing game, Roku should come up with a plan to refund.

  8. This is useless i bought the box 3months ago only used for 2months.Whats the next step now .Got mine in South Africa.You guys should get your staff sorted because your box still selling in store .

  9. This is useless i bought the box 3months ago only used for 2months.Whats the next step now .Got mine in South Africa.You guys should get your staff sorted because your box still selling in store .

  10. What would be the reason for Netflix, youtube etc. as well as the usb port not functioning? Surely this could be used as a normal TV box? What am i missing?

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