MultiChoice buys Namola as it eyes portfolio expansion

MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela

MultiChoice Group has announced it is acquiring Namola, the popular emergency response app.

The move comes as the pay-television operator, which owns DStv, continues to diversify its portfolio of offerings to consumers, including an expansion into online betting and into financial services.

The Namola app allows users to summon the nearest vetted private or public security and medical response unit to their location using a connected device. The value of the acquisition was not disclosed.

DStv subscribers will be able to add the Namola app to their pay-TV bills from late October. Pricing starts at R29/month.

MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela, speaking on Thursday at the group’s annual showcase event in Johannesburg, said although MultiChoice started as a video entertainment business, it has realised in recent years that it “can do much more”.

Mawela said that through its pay-TV platforms, it reaches into 21 million homes across Africa, “speaking” to 100 million people.

This allows it to build a platform business, with ventures including betting platform BetKing.

MultiChoice has also launched an Internet service provider, called DStv Internet, provides online courses through Udemy, and, more significantly, has plans to become a big player across Africa in fintech and financial services, where it has already wet its feet in insurance.

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Fifty-seven percent of the African population is still unbanked, said Mawela. “There is a huge opportunity for us to move into financial services. We integrate over 200 payment points in the markets in which we operate. If we offer some form of payment options ourselves, should be able to see big income coming through.”

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He said the company already processes about US$1.8-billion in payments through its platforms annually. “We are excited about the financial sector.”

Asked whether MultiChoice could end up competing with Safaricom’s M-Pesa, MTN Group’s Mobile Money and other fintech offering from African mobile telecommunications operators, Mawela said nothing is off the table. However, the group is still considering its options and the launch of new products will not happen in the near term.  — (c) 2022 NewsCentral Media

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