Financial

MTN buys music-streaming business Simfy

MTN has completed the acquisition of Simfy, calling it "Africa's leading music-streaming business".

MTN has bought music-streaming business Simfy, as it tries to play more in the digital ecosystem as an over-the-top (OTT)-type player.

Group CEO and president Rob Shuter made the announcement during a speech at AfricaCom 2018 in Cape Town yesterday.

Shuter said MTN has completed the acquisition of Simfy, which he called "Africa's leading music-streaming business".

"It has a fantastic catalogue of music, access to more than 42 million tracks, arrangements with all of the major record labels. The architecture has just been completely rebuilt to be cloud-based, micro-services-based architecture built on Amazon Web Services and we are going to use this as our first big foray into MTN group digital OTT-like services."

He said MTN will push Simfy, which was officially launched in SA in August 2012, into its own base across Africa and the Middle East.

"What is critical is we are going to run it OTT-like, as a separate business, a separate team and it is not going to be MTN branded. It will be an OTT service so even if you are in SA and using one of the other slow networks, you can still enjoy a fantastic music experience," Shuter said, making a dig at his South African telco peers.

Shuter said when it comes to rich media services, MTN believes music is one of the most important services, which has the most resonance, demand and interest from customers.

"We have historically operated as MTN Music; we have had different platforms in different markets. We have been a partner of other OTT streaming services but we think this is a fantastic vertical to make our first big step in building out our MTN portfolio."

Shuter also announced at AfricaCom that MTN would begin selling 3G 'smart feature phones' early next year to the African market, and that the telco would re-launch Mobile Money in SA early next year and planned to bring Mobile Money to Nigeria for the first time in the second quarter of 2019.

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