Safaricom gets STB approval, seeks digital TV licence

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 09 March 2015

Kenyan telecommunications operator Safaricom has applied for a digital broadcast licence and received type approval for a set-top box (STB), after expressing its interest in entering the country's online video market.

"Safaricom is the latest firm that has sought type approval for a set-top box. They have also applied for a digital broadcasting licence but we have yet to approve that," Francis Wangusi, the director general of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), told Business Daily Africa.

CA has approved the Safaricom's universal set-top box (STB), which it plans to sell in the local market, providing access to free-to-air TV channels, as well as broadband connection and ultimately the Internet-delivered video content Safaricom will offer, should it receive a broadcast licence.

Currently the regulator is considering the possible impact of TV signals on the quality of its telecommunications services, according to Wangusi.
The bundled Internet, telecommunications and television services planned by Safaricom are similar to the plans of Africa Digital Network (ADN), owned by the three media companies Nation, Standard and Royal Media Services in dispute with the government over digital migration.

ADN has a self-provisioning licence and plans to import its universal STBs, which will be sold from Sh2,000, without monthly subscription fees.