The service was discontinued in July 2019 following the breakdown of the partnership between Roku and Econet Media. Econet was criticised for discontinuing a service without enough notice to customers. A similar sudden discontinuation of service had happened a year earlier with the satellite Kwese TV service.
On 3 July 2019, customers of the service woke up to error message:
“Econet no longer offers Kwese Play.”
Econet Media later apologised and said in a statement:
We have been in discussions with Roku regarding the viability of the Kwesé Play service.
The closure of the service and the message relayed on the device this morning was unexpected and comes at a time when we are engaged in discussions with Roku about their future plans on Africa.
We apologise for the inconvenience and are working on resolving this.
Roku itself said to journalists in response:
Econet licensed our platform to deliver the Kwesé Play streaming service to its customers. Econet is shutting down the Kwesé Play service and is no longer working with Roku. For more information contact Kwesé/Econet.
On 29 July 2019, Econet released a statement saying the service had indeed been shut down:
Further to our earlier communication, we regret to inform you that the Kwese Play service will no longer be available in Zimbabwe. Econet Media sincerely apologises for this unexpected turn of events and for the inconvenience caused.
Econet compensated customers for the shutdown by giving them airtime equivalent to the purchase price of the Roku device.
- Kwese Play Down In Zimbabwe, South Africa. “Error: Econet no longer offers Kwese Play”, Pindula News, Published 3 July 2019, Retrieved: 3 July 2019
- “Econet is shutting down the Kwesé Play service”, Company’s Supplier Disputes Econet’s Statement, Pindula News, Published 4 July 2019, Retrieved: 3 July 2019
- Econet’s Statement: Kwese Officially Shuts Down, Customers To Be Compensated., Techzim. Published:29 July 2019, Retrieved: 29 July 2019