October 9, 2008

Kenya’s Telecom Firm Launches Triple Play Service

Kenya's telecom firm launches triple play service

NAIROBI, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's telecommunications service provider, Wananchi Group, has unveiled the country's first triple play cable -- a value added retail product.

The company said in a statement received here Wednesday that the Zuku service comprises television, internet broadband and telephony.

Wananchi Group CEO Euan Fannell said during the launch that the firm is taking advantage of the recently launched unified licensing scheme to roll out a product that enables consumers to enjoy three services from one cable.

The product is a result of the group's expansion of its cable services that saw it acquire Mitsumi TV, a cable TV network. Through the Africa Telecom Media and Technology Fund, the company has also acquired a 10 percent stake in the Teams fibre optic cable, whose bandwidth capacity will enable it to set up a video streaming and conferencing network.

"Our goal in Kenya is to migrate from dial-up to wireless broadband. This should be in place by early next year," said Fannell.

The company is setting up WiMax base stations in Nairobi and Mombasa and plans to roll out at least 100 base stations by November. Currently, more than 20 base stations have been rolled out.

Through Mitsunet TV, the group is targeting 300,000 homes in Nairobi and 100,000 homes in Mombasa. Subscribers will have access to 90 channels at prices ranging from 800 shillings to 3,000 shillings. The service will soon be available in Tanzania after the group recently acquired a broadband and VSAT provider in Dar es Salaam.

"In more advanced economies such as Western Europe, North America and Southeast Asia, triple play tends to be the platform within which the fiercest battles are fought, and Kenya -- with the launch of Zuku, is poised to deliver similar consumer benefits, " said Fannell.

"Zuku as a triple play product represents the first time that a Kenyan company has truly offered convergence," said Fannell, adding that the pay TV has over 90 channels with an additional 53 in the offing.

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