Phone-home service Lebara launches prepaid TV offering

Roll up for Bollywood and Nollywood ... but no IPL cricket


Low-cost mobile virtual network operator Lebara is following the non-virtual operators in a step towards quad-play with a TV offering — and for the moment at least skipping broadband and fixed.

As with the existing phone service, Lebara Play will be prepaid, with customers topping up their allocation at a local corner shop. There is no obligation to buy contiguous months, a model which suits the company's core user base (migrants), who might return home for a few months.

The service will run through apps — Windows, Mac or Android with iPhone coming soon — or a dedicated set-top box. The box supports 4K video, has a remote control with qwerty, and a headset socket.

Lebara is very proud of the low latency of the new service, claiming that – customer broadband notwithstanding – it is "fast".

While there are no contractual obligations if you use the apps, and there is some free curated content, the box costs £149 and comes with a year’s service.

“We’ve built relationships with some of the leading content companies worldwide, and in the coming months we’ll be announcing further deals to deliver customers even more of the TV and movies they love in their own language," said Aditya Thakur, CEO of Lebara Play.

A one-off monthly subscription costs £9.99. Annual subscriptions work out cheaper per month than renewing your monthly subscription every month. Sign up for a year and you'll only pay for 10 months - £100. The set top box costs £149 and includes a year's unlimited viewing of your chosen package.

There are more than 150 TV channels and 3,000 movies, although you’d need to be an incredible polyglot to enjoy them all. The initial offering consists of European, African and Asian channels, including Sun TV, KTV and Adithya, as well as the African Movie Channel, Ebony Life and Nigerian channel Silverbird.

Lebara doesn’t yet have any significant sports rights and appreciates this shortcoming, particularly the lack of IPL cricket. The company points out that the Indian market is complex, with 768 channels, but didn’t want to hold up the launch until negotiations on some of the more complex deals were complete.

The Nigerian market is catered for, and there is the Turkish channel ATV Avrupa, which sits alongside Euro D, Eurostar and TV8 International, plus an extensive catalogue of Turkish movies.

"Lebara Play provides a huge range of content – blending the best of video on demand movies and live TV programming – with a simple and intuitive user experience, at a competitive price," added Thakur.

Moving into other spaces is a shrewd thing to do, and Lebara is conscious of the threat from VoIP services to its core international revenue and the steep decline in the costs of international calls. The company has 5.3 million customers and selling them movie and money services builds on the brand. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading
  • FTC signals crackdown on ed-tech harvesting kid's data
    Trade watchdog, and President, reminds that COPPA can ban ya

    The US Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said it intends to take action against educational technology companies that unlawfully collect data from children using online educational services.

    In a policy statement, the agency said, "Children should not have to needlessly hand over their data and forfeit their privacy in order to do their schoolwork or participate in remote learning, especially given the wide and increasing adoption of ed tech tools."

    The agency says it will scrutinize educational service providers to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations under COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

    Continue reading
  • Mysterious firm seeks to buy majority stake in Arm China
    Chinese joint venture's ousted CEO tries to hang on - who will get control?

    The saga surrounding Arm's joint venture in China just took another intriguing turn: a mysterious firm named Lotcap Group claims it has signed a letter of intent to buy a 51 percent stake in Arm China from existing investors in the country.

    In a Chinese-language press release posted Wednesday, Lotcap said it has formed a subsidiary, Lotcap Fund, to buy a majority stake in the joint venture. However, reporting by one newspaper suggested that the investment firm still needs the approval of one significant investor to gain 51 percent control of Arm China.

    The development comes a couple of weeks after Arm China said that its former CEO, Allen Wu, was refusing once again to step down from his position, despite the company's board voting in late April to replace Wu with two co-chief executives. SoftBank Group, which owns 49 percent of the Chinese venture, has been trying to unentangle Arm China from Wu as the Japanese tech investment giant plans for an initial public offering of the British parent company.

    Continue reading
  • SmartNICs power the cloud, are enterprise datacenters next?
    High pricing, lack of software make smartNICs a tough sell, despite offload potential

    SmartNICs have the potential to accelerate enterprise workloads, but don't expect to see them bring hyperscale-class efficiency to most datacenters anytime soon, ZK Research's Zeus Kerravala told The Register.

    SmartNICs are widely deployed in cloud and hyperscale datacenters as a means to offload input/output (I/O) intensive network, security, and storage operations from the CPU, freeing it up to run revenue generating tenant workloads. Some more advanced chips even offload the hypervisor to further separate the infrastructure management layer from the rest of the server.

    Despite relative success in the cloud and a flurry of innovation from the still-limited vendor SmartNIC ecosystem, including Mellanox (Nvidia), Intel, Marvell, and Xilinx (AMD), Kerravala argues that the use cases for enterprise datacenters are unlikely to resemble those of the major hyperscalers, at least in the near term.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022