For the first time, millions of people can now access exciting new interactive services on any mobile phone via SMS such as group chat and useful internet content without the need for internet. All of this is possible through Smart Tanzania a services launched by ONEm communication that allows free to access for upgrades and more advanced features.
ONEm CEO Christopher Richardson who recently spoke on ‘Scaling Innovative and Sustainable Mobile Solutions for Africa’ at GSMA Mobile 360 states “Starting in Africa for us is a very smart move and where better to start than with the Smart East Africa Group, which operates in Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. We feel this partnership will be seen as a historical milestone for ONEm in years to come.”
Smart’s Group Commercial Director added “Smart’s partnership with ONEm across all 3 of our markets will make a significant impact to the user experience of our growing subscriber base.
By leveraging ONEm’s innovative service offerings, Smart’s customers can access group chat service and internet content such as Wikipedia and Reuters news without the use of data. Ultimately, this offers our subscribers the access to a world of information regardless or region, or data coverage.”
ONEm’s partnerships with mobile operators and content providers fuel the ever-growing ONEm ecosystem which helps to enrich African lives. ONEm has partnered with content providers such as Reuters to deliver news content and Kilimo Media International to deliver key agricultural information all through SMS and audio to mobile users.
ONEm leverages the Operators existing infrastructure creating a completely new channel to add to their lineup of service offerings. ONEm creates a whole new ecosystem over the Operator’s proprietary Voice and SMS where their subscribers can enjoy a wide range of growing services and local knowledge content.
Unlike OTTs that ride over the operator’s data channel, ONEm coined the term ‘TTO’ (Through the Operator) where the business model is operator-centric. Since this infrastructure already exists, is robust and is native to every mobile, the Operator can deliver rich user experiences that will be affordable to all.
Every subscriber in the Mobile Operator’s network has gifted access to the ‘Explore’ tier which provides some basic functionality for every SMS based service on the ONEm ecosystem. Users are then able to
unlock more sophisticated and advanced features with the affordable ‘Plus’ and ‘Power’ tiers. Stand alone ‘Premium’ services will also be available for value voice, group and high value content services.
Many Mobile Operators in emerging markets are especially keen to connect to the ONEm platform as they can see the immediate value it would bring to their subscriber base. Globally, there are still billions of people who do not have internet access. In Africa, just one in five people are online and the growth is slowing. The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) recently noted that the UN goal of providing universal affordable internet access by 2020 is unrealistic and that it may not be until 2042 that this is reached. This pushes all stakeholders involved to find an immediate solution to connect the unconnected.
The number of people with access to a mobile phone far surpasses the number of those with internet access. The GSMA pointed out that affordability of internet is a huge barrier to connecting the unconnected and in some African countries, basic broadband can cost up to 50% of the average income. ONEm have identified the unique opportunity to repurpose existing technology to connect people and create new services with what they already have: SMS and audio.