TELECOMS magnate, Strive Masiyiwa, has announced the launch of a new pay TV station in “all the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa” which will be delivered through his Liquid Fibre, the largest builder of terrestrial fibre ion the continent.
The development will likely prove a welcome option in Masiyiwa’s native Zimbabwe were locals unable to afford the South Africa-based DSTV must suffer poor quality programming from the state broadcaster ZBC.
ZBC is also accused of churning out pro-Zanu PF propaganda and shutting out the opposition while covering live countrywide rallies staged by First Lady, Grace Mugabe, which are attended by ruling party supporters.
Masiyiwa, founder of the Econet group which has operations across the world and in various sectors, however suggested that his Kwese TV would stay well clear of politics, concentrating instead on sport and entertainment programming.
The tycoon, thought to be Zimbabwe’s only US-dollar billionaire, promised that Kwese TV would offer “new, high-quality and unique programming at an affordable price”.
The Harare regime has resisted pressure to fully open up the country’s airwaves, handing out the few new commercial radio licences to government-owned companies and pro-Zanu PF businessmen while ZTV remains the sole national television broadcaster.
Masiyiwa confirmed the imminent launch of Kwese TV on Facebook.
“I'm excited to share some information with you about our newest business, one that’s been in the making for three years now,” he said.
“This is the first time I’ve publicly introduced any new venture on Facebook!
“As Econet Global, we’re about to roll out a unique Pay TV service known as Kwesé TV which will offer exclusive sports and entertainment programming to African markets.
“Kwesé means everywhere and anywhere!”
Although other providers exist in the sector, Masiyiwa said; “You may know of other companies in this market …
“ … most which either provide content that’s far too expensive, or… content that’s just so bad it's not worth paying to see it, even if it’s cheaper.
“We know you understand what the problem is… And I believe my team has developed an exciting product which will change that dynamic!”
He added, “Our new business will be built around Econet’s core capabilities of satellite communications, fibre optic networks, and mobile services.
“What does this mean for Africa? I will tell you! We believe African consumers must have access to premium and exclusive TV programming at a price that is value for money.
“Our satellite communications business, Liquid Sat, has already built a platform which allows us to deliver what is known as Direct TV to the home (DTH), in all the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Our fibre optic company, Liquid Fibre, is the largest builder of terrestrial fibre in Africa. And, of course, Econet is one of the most experienced mobile network operators on the continent.
“These are just a few of the assets we’ll deploy in a unique way, never done before in Africa.”
Subscribers would be able to access Kwese’s programming on various platforms.
Said Masiyiwa: “We’ve also discussed that if you see a problem or an unmet need: don’t complain, develop a solution! That’s what we are working to do at Kwesé TV!
“I believe my team has developed an exciting product which will change that dynamic!
“As the “mobile generation," we know you’re highly discerning about what you are willing to pay for.
“What I can share with you right now is that our new business called Kwesé TV will be what we call ‘multi-screen’.
“This means you can watch TV with a traditional TV, a smartphone, a tablet, and/or a computer.”