Africa is not for the feint hearted. Especially if you are a Value Added Service provider (VAS) and yet this is exactly where SPICE is playing. Spice is currently in 12 African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Ghana, Congo Republic, DRC, Rwanda, Chad & Gabon and they don’t seem to be stopping there.
At Africacom I met with Arun Nagar, CEO and Managing Director, Spice VAS Africa, who says that the company “aims to be the number one provider of mobile entertainment and infotainment.“
Spice’s key factor is that they understand that they need to keep things local. In every country that carries their services they have local operation that employs local staff – currently totalling 65 in Africa. This not only helps the local economy but also gives its distinct African flavour to each country. Content in Kenya is different to content in DRC and so the local on-the-ground staff keep sourcing the “right stuff”
Spice recognises that the local cell phone operators have the infrastructure and billing mechanism and so they integrate their servers into the operator’s network and offer the network a “white label” solution. This ensures something critical in Africa = trust. The customer trusts the operator and therefore signs up to the service on a subscription basis.
Spice offer local content by local artists. Users who sign up for the service may “stream” the content to their mobile devices and pay on a per-minute basis. This service is popular as it allows for local content to be accessed by millions of people who might not have televisions but do have access to cell phones. What is also key is that you do not need a “smart phone” as you can access the content via IVR.