Vodacom South Africa has launched Video Play, a service to provide our customers with low cost, buffer free mobile video experiences.

We are the first operator in Africa to launch a service of this type, which will help people living in emerging markets to overcome the challenges they can face when wanting to watch a mobile video.

The growth of mobile telecommunications across emerging markets, and the lack of fixed line infrastructure, has meant that many people in those countries have mobile-first or mobile-only connectivity. They still want and deserve the same quality content experience that mature market customers have, but can face specific challenges when watching videos.

Firstly, there can be network challenges that limit the ability to predictably stream videos without buffering. Additionally, because pre-paid customers do not know how much data is consumed when streaming video, they can be reluctant to do so for fear of surprise charges.

Video Play has been specifically designed to overcome these challenges. It provides offline video with transparent, time-based charging. The result is a reliable and quality mobile video experience.

Available on Android and BlackBerry, with other platforms to follow shortly, a user first downloads the application and installs it on their device. In the app they will find a large catalogue of mobile videos from MobiTV, ENCA, ETV, Stream 360, CCA, Urbanbrew, Content Bar, Pockit TV, and TVPC. From news and sports, to music and entertainment, there is content for everybody.

A user can then select the videos they want to watch and add them to their download queue. The product then manages the download of the content to the device at periods of spare network capacity, typically overnight. Once downloaded, the customer can watch the high quality videos offline whenever they want.

Customers have to buy a pre-paid bundle of minutes to enjoy the service. They will not be charged for browsing, but only for the minutes of the videos they download. If they download a three minute video, only three minutes will be deducted from their video bundle. No other data charges apply. The end result is that customers have a price they understand, which is also lower than peak-rate streaming data charges.

Video Play customers can now get the most out of being connected and have a quality video experience at a price they understand because of its unique combination of managed download and duration based pricing.

We are really excited that Vodacom South Africa is the first market to launch the product, and hope that it will open up a whole new world of mobile video entertainment to those people who have never confidently watched video on their mobiles before.

To find out more, please click below for a short video:

Ollie Benham is the Marketing and Commercial Manager for the Consumer Solutions Emerging Markets team within Vodafone Group. His team focuses on delivering quality services to emerging market customers, based on an understanding of their specific experience and behaviour. He has several years of proposition and product marketing experience and has lived and worked in a number of emerging markets including Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.