PayTV-telco live streaming packages; who is giving more value for money

PayTV-telco live streaming packages; who is giving more value for money

A person watching a World Cup game on phone (Picture credit: Seedhi Baat No Bakwas/YouTube

Pay TV companies have exploited this season of World Cup to make more money as they provide their customers with easier means of following the tournament.

To efficiently run the campaign, Pay TV companies partnered with telecommunication companies; Kwese (Kwese iflix) partnered with Airtel and MTN while StarTimes (StarTimes ON) has partnered with Africell and MTN.

Related: 5 apps to keep you updated with 2018 World Cup

Since streaming online content is data consuming, and to solve this problem, the Pay TV companies inked deals with ISPs to introduce special data bundles which could make the service cheaper.

Basically, this offer is like the Social Bundles ISPs have been providing for one to access only social media platforms like Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter(SWIFT).

In this article, we look at the differences in packages rolled out by StarTimes (StarTimes ON) and Kwese app (Kwese iflix) and how the telcos tailored their prices to attract customers.

Subscription fees

Pay TV companies have come up with four subscription packages a customer can pick from, depending on their interests. The table below shows subscription fees for Kwese iflix and StarTimes ON.

Validity (days) Kwese iflix (Shs) StarTimes ON (Shs)
1 2,100 1,000
3 3,600 3,000
7 7,200
30 14,400 9,000

Though from the table StarTimes ON appears cheaper than Kwese iflix, most of the content on the latter is free, including some live World Cup games on Kwese Free Sports. With StarTimes ON, most of the content, including all the World Cup games require payment. Another thing about StarTimes is that it doesn’t offer a weekly package, which Kwese iflix offers it at Shs7,200.

Streaming bundles

Kwese iflix

MTN and Airtel are the two ISPs to provide streaming bundles. While MTN bundles are independent of the subscription fees, Airtel packages cover both the subscription and data for one to stream via iflix.

Another major difference between the two products is MTN’s bundles are measured in terms of streaming time within 24 hours, that is, a customer can subscribe for 2, 4, 6, 12 hours of streaming content whereas Airtel’s are measured in terms of Data Volume, that is, MBs and GBs.

Below is a table for MTN-iflix packages and their prices.

Streaming in hours (Valid within a day) Price (Shs)
2 1,600
4 3,200
6 4,800
12 9,600
24 19,200

To subscribe, MTN customers can dial *165*4*7#. We could not easily compare the bundles above with the usual data packages MTN offers since we are not sure of the amount of data one can consume while streaming via iflix in a given period of time. MTN bundles are at an advantage over Airtel’s since with MTN one is measured according to streaming time and not data consumed during the process. Worth noting also, the streaming time can be divided; for instance, if you subscribed for 2 hours, you can decide to watch for 30 minutes, say, in the morning, then another 30 in the afternoon, and, maybe, the other hour later in the evening, as long as it’s within twenty-four hours.

When it comes to Airtel, the packages cover both the subscription and data given to the customer.

Validity (day) Data Total amount (both subscription and data) Without subscription (Data only) Price of Normal bundles
1 1 GB 5,000 2,900 5,000
3 2 GB 10,000 6,400 10,000
7 3 GB 20,000 12,800 15,000
30 12 GB 55,000 40,600 50,000

To subscribe for these, Airtel customers can dial *284*3#. From the table, you can see that subscribing for Airtel to watch content on iflix is a good deal since the price for normal data bundles almost covers both Kwese subscription and the normal amount of data; however, the data is for exclusively streaming.

For instance, according to our calculations, as seen in the fourth column of the table, the Airtel-iflix package offers 1GB at Shs2,900 which would cost Shs5,000 under Airtel’s usual data prices (see the fifth column). The Shs5000 that would buy a non-restricted 1GB bundle can get you both Kwese subscription at Shs2100 and the 1GB that is restricted for streaming via Kwese iflix.

2GB for 3 days also comes at Shs6,400 via iflix whereas one could spend Shs10,000 for the same amount of data under non-restricted bundles.

Related: Press Release after the partnership of Airtel’s Kwese Bundles.

This, therefore, implies the streaming packages are cheaper since they cater for both subscription and data at almost the same cost as the usual data packages.

The advantage with some of Airtel’s bundles is that data given can go for more than 24 hours unlike those of MTN that is restricted to 24 hours.

StarTimes ON

StarTimes ON can be downloaded by both Android and iOS users. The partnership between StarTimes and Africell introduced packages that allow customers to stream content at a lower cost than the usual bundles.

Below are the packages that are available for Africell customers.

Streaming time (hours) Data Price (Shs) Usual packages
3 720 MB 1,600 600MBs at Shs3200 (Under triple bundles)
5 1.4 GB 3,200 1.5GB at Shs6500 ((Under triple bundles)
8 2.2 GB 4,800 2GB at Shs8700

To subscribe for these bundles, Africell customers can dial *133# and follow prompts. The StarTimes-Africell bundles are only valid for 24 hours and they are independent of the subscription fees. The Africell-StarTimes bundles, as shown in the table, give an insight on how long the package will last; 720MBs last 3 hours, 1.4 GB (5 hours) and 2.2GB (8 hours).

For perspective, at Shs1,600 one gets 720MBs for streaming via StarTimes, yet with Shs3200, one only gets 600MBs under the Triple Bundles Package. (The latter are non-restricted though.)

Additionally, 1.4 GB for streaming goes for Shs3,200 and at a normal offer, 1.5GB goes for Shs6,500; 2.2 GB (streaming) comes at Shs4,800 and 2GB, at a normal offer, costs Shs8,700.

MTN StarTimes bundles

Streaming (hours) Price (Shs)
2 2,000
4 4,000

Also valid for 24 hours like its iflix packages, the MTN-StarTimes bundles are more expensive than those for iflix, that is, for 2 hours, on Kwese iflix, MTN charges Shs1600 while StarTimes charges Shs2000. For 4 hours, on Kwese iflix, MTN charges Shs3200, while StarTimes, it charges Shs4000.

Internet users can continue using their data bundles and Wi-Fi from other sources to stream content via these platforms as long as they meet the subscription fees to access more content.