Telecom Lead @ Mobile World Congress 2013: Mobile giant Etisalat will offer low cost access to social media and e-mail via USSD in emerging telecom markets.
Etisalat — in association with Mahindra Comviva — will offer cost effective email, instant messaging, social networking, phone book backup services to 139 million subscribers across Middle East, Africa and Asia.
The telecom giant will deploy the new platform in a single location within the UAE, while the services will be made available to all the 15 affiliates of Etisalat.
According to market research firm Nielsen, consumers’ time spent with social media on mobile apps and the mobile web has increased 63 percent in 2012, compared to the same period last year.
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Etisalat Nigeria — which has 15 million mobile users — will be the first telecom player to deploy the new messaging solution.
Juniper Research says the number of mobile IM (Instant Messaging) users will exceed 1.3 billion by 2016.
Steven Evans, CEO Etisalat Nigeria, said: “Nigeria has a vast population of young people a majority of which are basic-phone holders with no or minimum data capabilities. It is our desire that we are able to address their needs to enjoy emailing, instant messaging, and social networking amongst other services no matter the type of handset they are using.”
Essa Al Haddad, chief executive officer – Africa at the Etisalat Group, says that with smartphone adoption still low in many countries and multiple clients for each service, the user experiences get very complicated. These mar the adoption of web services on mobile handsets.