By Chancy Namadzunda
Nokia and Airtel announced a broad partnership agreement across Africa to drive closer collaboration and deliver increased consumer value. The agreement, which incorporates areas such as the provision of Nokia Life services, Xpress Browser and Nokia Store Operator Billing for purchases from Nokia Store in key countries, makes it easier and more cost effective for Airtel subscribers to access a range of value adding services.
“Nokia’s commitment to Africa goes beyond the provision of quality mobile phones,” says Olivier Mas, Head of Solution Sales, Nokia Middle East Africa. “Our focus is on bringing real consumer value through relevant content and services and by igniting the local ecosystem to do the same. Partnerships are a critical part of this strategy and we are pleased to be working closely with Airtel Africa to deliver on our consumer promise.”
A key part of the agreement is the provision of Nokia Life services, already available in Nigeria and launching in Kenya this month. The services, which are delivered as richly formatted SMS messages, bring relevant, timely and personalized information to consumers at a far lower cost than other sources. Information is customized and designed to meet basic needs in areas such as education, agriculture, healthcare, livelihood and even spirituality.
The content brings real benefits, such as information for expectant mothers in rural areas who may not have regular access to clinics or pre-natal care. Since its launch in India, Nokia Life has expanded to several countries and has been experienced by more than 95 million people in 18 local languages. The potential for Nokia Life in Africa is enormous and, following on the success of Nigeria, Nokia and Airtel are pleased to now extend this to the East African market, starting with Kenya.
Andre Beyers, Chief Marketing Officer for Airtel Africa, is committed to the partnership. He says, “There are huge opportunities throughout Africa to transform how people communicate and how communities interact.
Delivering on that opportunity through mobile communications for everyone is our focus. This alliance underlines our commitment to the growth of Africa’s communications sector and contributes towards bridging the digital divide on the continent. Partnering with world class organizations on such a large scale will galvanize the sector in Africa and be a catalyst for growth”.
Airtel is also pleased to announce the upcoming availability of integrated billing solutions for Nokia Store in both Nigeria and Kenya. Customers will shortly be able to download top local and global paid content, including apps and games, from Nokia’s immensely popular mobile application store and pay for their downloads as part of their monthly mobile phone bills or have the amount deducted from their pre-paid balance. Another advantage is that customers will pay for this content in local currency.
This is also great news for developers whereby paid for apps can soon be enjoyed by a broader base of consumers through operator billing, in addition to the existing credit card purchase mechanism. The third area of collaboration is around the provision of Nokia Xpress Browser for Airtel customers in Nigeria and Kenya, delivering a faster, smarter and more affordable way to access the internet. Xpress Browser is Nokia’s cloud-based platform for delivering a better internet experience on a number of mobile devices, including the new Asha range.
The cloud-acceleration technology compresses information by up to 90% to increase download speeds, reduce data costs and render pages in a format specially designed for mobile phones. As many African consumers will experience the internet for the first time from their mobile phone, the customised Nokia Xpress Browser is a valuable tool for Airtel subscribers in Kenya and Nigeria, whether they are seeking basic information, running their small business, or using social media to stay in touch.