Kenya’s yu rolls out new data, mobile services

image credit:
Kenyan mobile phone service yu is improving its data offering by launching mobile chat and email for its first generation handset users.

yu, the mobile brand of Kenya’s third largest telecoms network Essar Telecom Kenya, is exploiting ForgetMeNot Africa’s Handset Initiation (HI) technology to enable its entire 1.6 million subscriber base to access email and online chat on standard SMS-capable mobile phones.

The new service, branded Peperusha, has been launched with ForgetMeNot Africa and its local partner Rapid Communications to give yu a competitive edge over its rivals in the rapidly growing Kenyan telecoms market. It will drive SMS traffic and attract customers from rival networks, while allowing yu to generate more revenue from mobile email, chat services and social networking integration.

Peperusha requires no smartphones, Internet connections, device upgrades or application downloads for users to send and receive email and online chat messages to friends and family at home and abroad.

It is particularly attractive to the technically-literate youth of Kenya, who are already very familiar with email and chat. Peperusha incorporates popular chat services such as MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Windows Live and Gtalk so that users can send and receive messages and invitations globally.

Jeremy George, Chief Operating Officer for ForgetMeNot Africa, a specialist in unified messaging systems for telecommunications operators, said: “Peperusha is a significant advantage to yu in attracting new customers and reducing churn in the busy, ever-growing Kenyan telecoms market. Essar Telecom is giving its subscribers a bridge over the digital divide by providing affordable access to chat and email services on standard mobile phones, without the need for data plans or expensive handsets.

“Our cloud computing approach turns basic handsets into virtual messaging smartphones and potentially gives millions of Africans access to internet messaging which otherwise, for both economic and technical reasons, would be unavailable to them.”

Atul Chaturvedi, Country Manager of Essar Telecom Kenya, said, “yu is giving its subscribers the best mobile phone services possible. ForgetMeNot Africa’s technology is another addition to our product portfolio, enabling our customers to exchange email and online chat messages with friends and family both in Kenya and abroad. The high price of internet-ready phones has restricted many Kenyans from being able to access the Internet, but we can now provide online messaging services at significantly lower cost via SMS. We believe the Peperusha service will help to cement our position as the most innovative and value for money operator in the Kenyan telecoms market.”