MTN Rwanda has launched an app, called MTN TV, that allows users to stream and share videos on Android data-enabled handsets at an affordable price. MTN’s Senior Manager of Marketing Operations, Gaspard Bayigane, said that all the content is available locally, which enables users to stream video almost two times faster than non-locally hosted content, which reduces buffering. An advantage of MTN TV is that customers will be able to select the channels of their choice from a range and pay for a bundle from RWF 100.00 (US $0.12). The app provides an additional platform for content providers such as TV stations, artists, film producers, comedians and media and music production companies, to share their content. In addition to streaming video, MTN TV will have advertising services. The ads are run as in-app ads or pop-ups that appear in the process of streaming or browsing the app’s menus.
This offer from MTN appears to fly in the face of the net-neutrality principle, with its promise to stream Rwandan content at about twice the speed of foreign content. But unlike in a more developed market, the preference given here has two potential advantages: One, it could stimulate the country’s economy, a need that may outweigh the neutrality principle in value. And two, it could benefit the operator, in that offering customers content that is affordable will lead them to make vigorous use of data services that might otherwise lie fallow.