Telecoms firm Safaricom #ticker:SCOM has relaunched its Internet-enabled digital TV decoders in the market a year after it suspended sales to address technical malfunctions.
The telco started selling the Safaricom Digital TV and Internet Box for Sh9,999 at its shops last month, promising customers better user interaction, more applications and a stable system.
Safaricom’s new set-top box has Wi-Fi capability, an embedded 4G SIM card slot, is running on the second latest Android software Nougat 7.0 and will air several free-to-air channels.
The new decoder, which has dropped the name Big Box, will now come with personal video recorder capabilities as well an internal storage space of 32 gigabytes allowing users to download and store movies for offline viewing.
“The box is available in Nairobi and Mombasa and we shall be rolling it out in coming weeks to other towns where we have our 4G network,” said Safaricom director for consumer business Sylvia Mulinge.
Safaricom launched the Big Box in May 2015, betting on the demand created by the migration of analogue TV broadcasting to digital platforms to drive sales of the decoder.
The telco sold more than 1,500 devices in the first seven months of its offering, but technical glitches — Wi-Fi function was too weak to support indoor Internet access — forced it to suspend sales to facilitate an upgrade.
The decoder was relaunched in November 2015, and its retail price slashed by half to Sh4,999, in an attempt to address the device’s low uptake.
Months later, the device was quietly removed from the market until its reintroduction last month.
“We factored in customer feedback from the first box and have upgraded both the memory and storage on the new box,” Ms Mulinge, adding that the box would be embedded with streaming services such as Showmax and iFlix.
The reintroduction of Safaricom’s digital box comes at a time when the telco is investing significant capital in deploying fibre to the home, taking the fight for Internet customers to players such as Jamii Telecom and Wananchi Group.
Safaricom’s internet customers can purchase the new box at a discounted price of Sh5,999.