theBIGbox: Kenya's Safaricom launches video on demand (VOD) set-top box service

Safaricom theBIGbox

Kenyan telecommunications service provider, Safaricom, has announced the launch of a video on demand (VOD) service. The service will be available for purchase in all major cities across Kenya.

Safaricom‘s television set-top box, dubbed “theBIGbox” decoder, will offer on demand access to TV and online content.

“Our vision is to enable a differentiated broadband internet solution that will enable our subscribers to harness the power of the internet to watch new and exciting content from anywhere in the world from the comfort of their homes,” said Bob Collymore, Safaricom’s CEO.

theBIGbox decoder can function as a Wi-Fi hotspot with the ability to connect up to 10 users, said Bob Collymore. The decoder can stream HD TV channels, as well as online video services, such as YouTube, Collymore added.

Customers will be able to make payments for the service using Safaricom airtime credits or the M-PESA mobile money service.

theBIGbox will enable subscribers to leverage Safaricom’s extensive 3G and 4G networks to consume online content.

“This market first is only possible through our continued investment in building a robust data network which can support the provision of data heavy services to our subscribers. theBIGbox is inspired by our continued focus to democratize data use across all segments of society,” said Collymore.

With Safaricom’s move to VOD, the company is targeting Kenya’s largely untapped residential market. There are an estimated 2.4 million households in Kenya that have access to digital TV but do not yet use any of the set-top box services available in the market.