By Modupe Gbadeyanka
World’s leading Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) service for emerging markets, iflix, has announced its intention to continue its rapid global expansion into its third region, less than two months after launching in MENA.
iflix Africa plans to make its world-class service available to over 500 million consumers across the African continent with launches planned in Nigeria, Ghana Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
This will increase iflix’s global footprint to 23 territories worldwide, with additional regional markets to be added over the coming months.
It was gathered that iflix Africa will be headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa and trade commercially as ‘iflix’.
The commercial launch of iflix’s SVoD service across SSA is planned over the second and third quarter of 2017, and will make iflix’s vast range of thousands of TV shows, movies and more, including many first run exclusives and award winning programs available to hundreds of millions of consumers across the region.
In addition to having the best of Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood and other regional and local programming, the service will additionally offer an extensive collection of highly acclaimed African shows and movies with iflix Africa planning to introduce exclusive African content series.
Having first launched its service in May 2015, iflix quickly established its dominance in the Asian region, rolling out its world class service to 18 markets across Asia and MENA in less than two years, acquiring over 5 million members over the period. iflix Africa will capitalize on SSA’s large youth population, rapidly growing internet and smartphone penetration, and huge appetite for digital content and entertainment.
In March 2017, iflix announced the completion of over $90 million round of funding to support its international expansion. The round added new investors Liberty Global Group and Zain Group to the company’s formidable shareholder registry which also includes global heavyweights Sky plc, Catcha Group and Evolution Media.
Mark Britt, iflix Co-founder and CEO said: “The establishment of iflix Africa represents an incredibly exciting step in iflix’s growth story. As Africa transitions from the margins to the mainstream of the global economy, there is a unique, ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to fundamentally shift the way a billion people consumes and enjoys content. By 2020, Africa will have 720 million smartphone users. We aim to meet the entertainment needs of those growingly connected viewers.”
“As the fastest-growing mobile market on earth, Africa is without question one of the world’s most dynamic regions. We are thrilled to introduce our first-of-its-kind SVoD service here. We are passionately focused on providing the broadest selection of premium content at a price everyone can afford. We can’t wait to tackle both the enormous opportunities and challenges ahead, in serving this incredibly diverse and exciting region,” added Andre de Wet, iflix Head of Africa.
Currently available to over one billion consumers in 18 markets across Asia and MENA, iflix will soon roll-out its world class service across sub-Saharan Africa with initial launches in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Each subscription will allow users to access the service on up to five devices, including phones, laptops, tablets, and television sets, for viewing wherever, whenever.
CBN Gives Interswitch Payments Service Holding Company License
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A Payments Service Holding Company (PSHC) license has been granted to Interswitch Group by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
This followed an earlier announcement by the CBN regarding new licensing categories for participants in the Nigerian payments system.
The integrated payments solution provider is among the first to receive this authorisation from the country’s apex bank.
According to the regulator, the PSHC regulation requires companies with existing or prospective operations across multiple license categories to set up a PSHC. The activities of each of the PSHC subsidiaries operating within those respective licensing regimes are clearly delineated for clearer accountability, effective risk management and the enablement of better regulatory oversight by the CBN.
A statement from Interswitch, a leading financial technology in Africa, outlines that Interswitch’s Group Holding Company retains ownership of the PSHC in Nigeria as well as its other subsidiaries outside of Africa.
The issuance of the PSHC licence coincides with Interswitch’s 20th-anniversary commemoration, which has seen the company cement its position as a pioneering and integral enabler that has actively supported the growth and development of fintech and payments progressively across Africa over the last 20 years.
It also serves to reinforce Interswitch’s progressive outlook as a frontier-driving company which keeps pushing boundaries to facilitate the creation of new ecosystems that help businesses and individuals scale and thrive, in line with its purpose of inspiring Africa to greatness through innovation, value-creation and excellence.
“Twenty years ago, we placed a bet on the latent potential we saw in the introduction of e-payment channels at the time, particularly ATMs for the delivery of cash just-in-time, and today, we are gratified to see how far the financial technology and payment systems in Nigeria have grown.
“On the back of our receipt of this additional license, we remain strongly committed to a close partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria to facilitate the delivery of the Payments Vision (2025) and, of course, the National Financial Inclusion Strategy,” the founder and Group CEO of Interswitch, Mr Mitchell Elegbe, remarked.
He further reiterates Interswitch’s resolute focus on its over-arching mission to continue championing technology solutions that connect and empower individuals, businesses, and communities across the continent.
Mafab Rolls Out 5G Services in Nigeria
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Another player has joined the 5G network space in Nigeria, and it is Mafab Communications Limited, which won the licence with MTN Nigeria Plc in December 2021.
After it obtained the licence from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for $273.6 million, it delayed its rollout, while its competitor, MTN, started in August in a few cities.
Business Post reports that Mafab on Tuesday held a ceremony at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, to commence operations in the country, promising to deepen broadband penetration.
“We are fully committed to bringing the benefits of 5G services to Nigerians and deploying a network that will drive economic development with increased broadband capabilities nationwide.
“I have no doubt that the service will help deliver improvements in the fields of education, business, smart cities and entertainment,” the Chairman of Mafab, Mr Mushabu Bashir, said.
It was gathered that Mafab would largely use existing infrastructure from IHS towers and, if need be, ATC Nigeria Wireless Infrastructure Solutions as well for its operations.
Recall that last month, the NCC again auctioned the 3.5GHz spectrum, which was won by Airtel Nigeria, which intends to launch its operations very soon.
It is not certain how much the Mafab 5G network services would cost. When MTN rolled out its 5G services last year, it sold the device for N50,000 and asked interested customers to pre-order the 5G router.
Airtel Introduces eSIM
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
To make communication easier and reduce the cost of procuring handsets for multiple SIMs, Airtel Nigeria has introduced an embedded SIM (eSIM).
A statement issued by the leading telecommunications services provider disclosed that the planet-friendly service allows customers to use two numbers without needing two mobile phones.
This digital SIM, according to Airtel Nigeria, also enables customers to access the same functionality as someone using a physical SIM.
It offers several benefits over traditional SIM cards as it is quick and simple to set up online, and it is planet-friendly (plastic-free/zero carbon emission).
The eSIM service is now immediately available on the Airtel network, and customers who wish to switch their current physical SIM cards for eSIMs will need to ensure they have a compatible device (dial*#06#), obtain the required QR code and be guided through a SIM Swap process by an Airtel service personnel.
Airtel says it has developed a simple and flawless process to activate the eSIM service for all its customers, just as it believes that the digital SIM will significantly improve the productivity of Nigerians, helping its stakeholders to achieve personal and professional goals.
The acting chief commercial officer for Airtel Nigeria, Mr Femi Oshinlaja, while commenting on the eSIM, stated that, “Airtel Nigeria is always at the forefront in championing technological advancement and creating innovative platforms and opportunities that will make life better, more exciting, and more enjoyable for all those in our stakeholder value chain.
“With eSIM, we are not only bringing the latest technology to the fingertips of our customers, but we are also focusing on our Sustainability goals of digital inclusion and environmental best practices as no plastic is involved with eSIM.
“It is, therefore, our commitment to continue to create offerings that will expand and deepen our digital footprints in line with our positioning as the network of first choice in Nigeria for everything mobile Internet, digital and home broadband.”
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