By Staff Reporter
ECONET Media says it has launched its 24 hour, free-to-air all-sport channel Kwese Free Sport in Rwanda, making it the fourth country after Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana to have the full 24 hour channel.
Kwese Free Sports, as the channel is called, is the first free to air sports channel offering 24 hour coverage of exclusive premium sports content.
The company currently has the exclusive pan African rights for some of the most sought after content in the world which includes the English Premier League, NBA, Formula One, The Spanish Copa Del Rey, English Rugby and Brazilian soccer among its long list.
It is also the first time these major sports have been available for the man in the street for free.
Speaking on the latest development, Econet Media chief executive Joe Hundah said, “Rwanda is a very important market for Kwese Sports and we are glad that we have now got our station on air. This is a young vibrant country with people who are passionate about sport.”
Hundah also confirmed that the free to air service was here to stay. “I know some people think this is too good to be true. They think we are suddenly going to start charging for this channel. It is always going to be free, because our money comes from advertising on the channel. We will have other pay sports channels later, but this one is always free.”
Meanwhile, the Econet Media boss has revealed that five other countries will go on air with their own stations before the end of the year. “We are moving quickly now. A pan-African, free to air, sports network, is an idea whose time has come.”
He said most countries have enthusiastically endorsed the concept. “People have been calling us to find out when we are coming. Regulators have been very quick to give us the licenses we need.”
Owing to alleged bad blood that exists between government and the mobile telecommunication company, it is still not clear whether Zimbabwe will benefit from the Kwese Free Sport.
A few months ago Econet Media had partnered with ZBC to enable the public broadcast to screen the Olympics games and some English Premier League games but the deal was terminated prematurely at the instigation of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is also being denied the opportunity by government to sell Zesa Pre-paid power tokens via its popular Ecocash platform despite having about nine million subscribers for its mobile phone service.