An Airtel Dobox launch is impending, reliable sources have informed TechCabal
When this happens, Airtel will become the third Nigerian telco to deploy Dobox in the over-the-top content play that has been building among Nigerian telcos these past years.
With the Airtel Dobox, Airtel subscribers will be able to download videos and other popular entertainment content without data charges, but only pay a one-time rent via airtime recharge. A one-time rent that varies depending on the kind of content downloaded and the length of time the content will stay on a user’s device.
MTN was the first company to layer Dobox on top of its network back in 2013 in what was initially thought to be an exclusive partnership. This partnership turned out to be something similar to a licencing deal after the startup announced a similar deal with Etisalat in 2014.
We’ve known for a while that Dobox was in talks with Airtel to integrate its entertainment on demand service into Airtel’s infrastructure, but the latest intel from a Dobox representative confirmed that conversations have reached advanced stages and the launch is mere weeks away.
Dobox is piggybacking on as much telco infrastructure as possible in what appears to be its most effective awareness and onboarding strategy. Until the partnership with MTN in 2013, Dobox was largely unknown. A dynamic that contributed to what led many to believe Dobox was an MTN proprietary product.
In the time that Dobox has been active on MTN and Etisalat, it’s been touted as possible competition for iROKOtv especially because of the zero-rated content download powered by the telco partnerhip. But Dobox is hardly proving a worthy competitor. Uptake has been middling at best, if a <50, 000 downloads on the Android play is anything go by, and Dobox has largely stayed under the radar since its last partnership with Etisalat in Q1 2015. It’ll be interesting to see how the Airtel partnership shakes out and what it will do to the startup’s fortunes in a space that also has Solo View, and Afrinolly (which is also backed by MTN) offering similar services exclusively on mobile.