Mobile operator Vodacom is giving its 17 million data-using customers a free one month trial of streaming service Deezer’s premium service. At the end of the month trial users who want to keep using the service will have to pay R60 a month to do so. Vodacom customers with contracts can opt to have the fee added to their monthly account while prepaid customers can pay with airtime.
New users interested in trying Deezer can already enjoy a 15 day free trial so its arrangement with Vodacom simply extends this. Users that take up the trial offer will have to manually cancel the service before the end of the month trial to avoid being automatically billed for the following month.
Deezer is a French-based music streaming service and was the third streaming service to launch in South Africa – after Germany’s Simfy and the UK’s Rara – in January of last year. It’s launch was described as a “soft launch” at the time and Vodacom is touting this partnership as a more official launch of the service. Deezer has a catalogue of more than 35 millions songs and is packaged with some of French mobile operator Orange’s contracts in Europe.
This isn’t the first tome a local operator has partnered with a music streaming service. In June MTN and Simfy Africa announced a partnership that allows the operator’s customers to pay a discounted rate of R49 per month for Simfy’s premium offering (which usually costs R60 per month).
Vodacom customers that want to take up the offer can sign up by visiting http://live.vodafone.com/
Phil Patel, Vodacom’s chief commercial officer, says music streaming has yet to take off in South Africa in the way it has in other markets but that Vodacom thinks this move will show people “how easy and convenient music streaming is” and that they “won’t look back”. Patel says Deezer’s ease of use is its biggest benefit.
No doubt one of the key reasons streaming services have had limited uptake in South Africa is that a tiny fraction of the population have access to fixed-line Internet connectivity and mobile data remains prohibitively expensive for many. Nonetheless, as data costs fall streaming services like Deezer will likely grow in popularity because of their convenience and because of the sharing functionality each offers which makes sharing content with other users and discovering new music extremely easy.
Like rival services Simfy and Spotify, Deezer allows users to store content offline so that they can listen to it without a data connection. The offline content is encrypted so that it cannot be copied to other devices or accessed if the user’s subscription isn’t paid up.
Patel says that in coming months Deezer will be included as a value-added service in some Vodacom packages and will be bundled with data.