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Safaricom launches Mobile Radio

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 23 – India’s premier mobile Value Added Services (VAS) company, Spice, has announced the launch of one of its flagship services, Mobile Radio, in partnership with Safaricom. Branded iDJ, the service will make the customers’ favorite music available to them anytime, anywhere.

Thanks to iDJ, Safaricom’s subscribers will be able to save their favorite music tracks in a personalised zone on the network, and access the music irrespective of the device features. “All it takes is a mobile phone and a connection to Safaricom. The iDJ service is not dependant on any special features on the phone since it can be accessed by making a simple voice call from any Safaricom number. It is like having your iPod in your phone, only it has a much wider choice of music,” said Arun Nagar, Chief Executive and Managing Director of Spice VAS Africa Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Spice Group formed specifically to expand its footprint in Africa.

Speaking on the occasion, Peter Arina, Chief Commercial Officer, Safaricom said, “We are very buoyant about the opportunities in VAS, and see it as a natural progression in the given scenario where voice revenues are under pressure. Spice is a trusted partner with an impressive bouquet of Value Added Services, and we intend to fully leverage this relationship for the benefit of Safaricom’s customers. To enable our subscribers to try this exciting new service, we have kept the subscription cost free for the first three months as a promotional offer.”

A unique offering of iDJ is to send personalised song dedications. The service was tested with great success during Valentine’s Day with enthusiastic customers recording their voice messages and sending a song dedication to their loved ones. The iDJ service is available to Safaricom’s over 17 million subscribers by dialing the short code 813 at a browsing fee of Sh1 per minute. There is no subscription fee for the initial three-month trial period.

It is understood that in addition to Kenya, Spice subsidiaries are operational in West African markets of Nigeria and Ghana, as well as neighboring Tanzania where it operates a Caller Ring back Tone (CRBT) platform in partnership with Airtel. “Spice’s business model is to provide an end-to-end Managed Service, wherein we invest in the Capex and manage the complete service for the operator, including the provisioning of local and international content. This model has enabled us to maximize operator revenues by driving service penetration of 29% of the subscriber base within one year at our CRBT installation in Tanzania,” explained MrNagar.

Commenting on the company’s future plans, Mr Nagar said that the company would continue to leverage its rich set of innovative VAS products like Voice Chat, Devotional Portal, and Live Streaming in addition to its flagship products of Mobile Radio and CRBT. While its footprint is currently concentrated on the Anglophone markets in Africa, the company is actively seeking opportunities for expansion into the major Francophone markets of DRC and Cameroon.

“Content is a critical success factor for entertainment VAS, and we have secured premium content in all our markets,” mentioned Vijay Jadhav, Chief Operations Officer for Spice VAS Africa. Commenting on Spice’s Africa strategy, Jadhav explained that the company recognizes the individuality of each market and tries to secure both popular music as well as religious content for all denominations. It has signed several exclusive contracts with top gospel and popular artists and music labels in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria, in addition to non-exclusive contracts with music copyright societies in these countries.

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