Wananchi takes product to city’s Eastlands
Posted Tuesday, August 7 2012 at 20:56
Regional home entertainment provider Wananchi Group has turned focus on Nairobi’s mid-income suburb of Eastlands where it plans to connect 100,000 households to its triple play product that features pay TV, broadband Internet, and fixed line telephony.
The firm plans to spend Sh8.4 billion to lay fibre cable infrastructure in the high-population district of the capital by end of the year as it seeks to cash in on the increased property development in estates such as Donholm, Embakasi, and Buruburu.
“Our target is the historically underserved growing middle class due to very expensive and limited product offerings,” said Mr Kamande Muiruri, the managing director in charge of Zuku Triple Play.
The firm, which trades under the Zuku brand, has also discounted its bouquet of products and introduced a higher bandwidth tariff with download speeds of 20 megabytes per second in a bid to appeal to the growing urban-middle class with an insatiable appetite for high speed Internet.
“The urban population is projected to continue growing at four per cent per annum in East Africa which makes it prime for cable services,” said Mr Muiruri.
The mass market entertainment and communications company estimates that the number of TV households in Kenya will grow almost twofold from the current five million to 9.3 million by 2015.
The planned entry into the densely populated Eastlands area marks a shift in Zuku’s triple play roll-out as it had focused on.
Nairobi’s upmarket neighbourhoods such as Kilimani, Lavington, Runda, and Loresho where it has laid a Sh14.3 billion ($170 million) fibre optic cable network.
Wananchi is sub-Saharan Africa’s sole provider of three-play services through fibre cable — a pay TV with up to 120 channels, high speed Internet, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) — available in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
The service is currently available in Nairobi only and will be expanded to Thika, Limuru, Kiambu and Mombasa next year. It has about 100,000 subscribers in Kenya.
“We are enriching our product by developing local content and offering more movie channels,” said Ms Hannelie Bekker, the managing director in charge of programming at Zuku.
Listed Internet service provider AccessKenya has announced plans to lay a fibre-optic cable and enter the nascent triple-play sub segment.
Data from the Communication Commission of Kenya shows that broadband, which represents 10 per cent of total Internet and data subscriptions, increased more than threefold from 131,829 subscriptions as at December last year to 651,738 subscriptions in March.