Vodacom is preparing to roll out an Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) service, offering video streaming to subscribers on its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) trial that is being conducted at an estate in the east of Pretoria.
A brochure for the trial lists “Vodacom IPTV including Netflix and Video on Demand” as one of the features Vodacom FTTH users will have access to.
This rekindled rumours that Vodacom will bring Netflix to South Africa after Vodafone announced in May 2014 it had struck a deal with the subscription video on demand provider.
At the time, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub told BusinessTech they were in similar talks with a number of providers of streaming content, but could not divulge details.
Internationally Netflix has inked deals with various networks to have its services included in IPTV set-top boxes.
Notably, it entered into agreements with Deutsche Telekom in Germany which saw it included in the Entertain IPTV offering, as well as Bouygues Telecom in France where there had been a lot of resistance to Netflix from telcos.
Netflix also confirmed in January 2015 that South Africa forms part of its international expansion plans, which it aims to complete by the end of 2016.
Though the mention of Netflix alongside Vodacom’s IPTV service raised hopes it would launch in South Africa sooner than expected, feedback from the operator dashed those hopes.
“The information in the brochure is incorrect. We currently have no agreement with Netflix,” a Vodacom spokesperson said.
Regarding its IPTV service, however, Vodacom remained silent.
Vodacom’s partner for the rollout, Fibre Connect, said it could not reveal details about any of the services offered until Vodacom commercially launched FTTH.
It does seem, however, that Vodacom is poised to launch its own streaming video contender to the South African market.