Internet – The benefit of the DStv Kenya and Telkom partnership to subscribers

Being the first company to develop and introduce a product – or service – in the market isn’t always a guarantee that your offering will always be the best in terms of customer loyalty and sales (or market share).

For just when a provider (or brand) is thinking of settling down to enjoy its dominant position in whichever industry (or sector), other firms in most cases get into the same market with a view to compete and grab clients from the pioneer. The new offering from the competition may be better (or worse) than what is already available in the market but that is never a key question.

(TOP: Eric Odipo, the MutiChoice Kenya Managing Director – left – and Aldo Mareuse, the Telkom Kenya CEO exchange their a decoder and a mobile wifi during the launch of DStv Na Internet offer. The Internet offer comes bundled with the DStv HD decoder at an affordable price of Sh6,999. Telkom’s MiFi is an Internet-on-the-go device).

As consumers, people will in most cases try and sample new products and services the first time they hit the market  before making a decision on whether to stick with the new product – due to quality, pricing and other considerations – or go back to what they were used to (or using) previously.

This is where the importance of continuous engagement with clients (to get their feedback) and innovation (to meet their ever-changing needs) comes in.

Multichoice, through its DStv brand, has over the years been known to offer video entertainment services to its customers. This is a market it has dominated since it was launched in Kenya in 1995.

“Our mission is to deliver value to our customers by making great entertainment more accessible. We find and develop the right mix of content and deliver it to millions of people across Africa – anytime, anywhere. Whether it’s local telenovelas, the excitement of world class sport or the latest global blockbusters, our investment in leading-edge content and technology systems deliver the shows that people love into their hands and their living rooms,” says Eric Odipo, the Multichoice Kenya MD.

But like I we noted earlier, continuous engagement with clients is crucial for all service providers, whether one assumes (in most cases wrongly) that your customers are satisfied by your services (or products) or that feel that more needs to be done to address their needs.

This is an area that Mr Odipo, as the person with the overall responsibility for Multichoice Kenya, is keenly aware of and pays close attention to.

“We listen to our customers to understand their changing lives, the pressures they face and what matters most to them. We are committed to using these insights to put customers at the heart of all the decisions that each of us makes every day,” noted Odipo, adding:

“We’re reshaping our business to improve our customers’ experience, whenever and wherever they engage with us.”

From the engagement with its subscribers, Multichoice Kenya has learnt key lessons, some of which have led to the development and launch of new products and services, the latest here being the bundled internet offer with Telkom (formerly Orange Kenya). The product is called DStv Na Internet.

But why internet? Or more specifically, why would DStv – a content provider whose most subscribers use decoders – decide to offer its customers internet connectivity as a value-add?

Here’s the thing: DStv subscribers using the HD Zappa decoder previously didn’t have internet as part of the package. This meant that after purchasing the full decoder (at almost Kshs 7,000 excluding the monthly subscription fees), they still had to explore their own options when it came to internet connectivity. Meaning that one could then decide to approach Safaricom (for its fibre-to-the-home or FTTH) package; Airtel Kenya (for its monthly unlimited internet bundles); Zuku (for its Triple-Play offer) or Surf (the latest provider of residential WiFi services in the country). Of course this must have brought challenges and inconvenience to the affected customers.

With the introduction of the DStv Na Internet offer, however, all customers who purchase the DStv HD Zappa decoder now get a free Orange MiFi router pre-loaded with 10GB of internet bundles and one month viewing on the DStv Compact package.

“For DStv, the move to bundle Internet is aimed at improving our customer experience by offering them more value, and at a price they can afford.  As the entertainment industry changes, we continually aim to bring people together around shared passions, and offer them an avenue for them to connect with us in the new realities. The DStv Na Internet promotion will give our customers the most affordable content at the most affordable price during the one month free Compact viewing window and a convenient Internet connection for the home at only Kshs 6,999,” said  Odipo.

In all this, Multichoice Kenya aims to improve the overall customer experience. “We strive to improve our customers’ experience in different ways whenever and wherever they engage with us. We understand that internet has become a basic necessity for doing business and interacting with other people socially. That is why this partnership with Telkom is an important step towards improving our customer experience,” he added.

And it’s a win-win for the two partners behind DStv Na Internet. For Telkom – which has 6 per cent market share of the country’s 40.5 million subscribers according to the latest industry statistics – the partnership gives it another avenue to attract new internet subscribers to its network.

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