Facebook for every phone on Orange
VALUE ADDED SERVICES| Feb. 17, 2012, 12:18 p.m.
Orange reports that it is the first operator in the region to use USSD technology, a low-bandwidth data service that is accessible from even the most basic phones, to create access to social networking.
With Facebook via USSD, Orange is providing mobile access to the service to millions of customers in Africa, many potentially for the first time.
Even users with older or very basic handsets without an internet connection or data plan will be able to stay in touch with their family and friends on Facebook through a simple and affordable text-based service.
USSD is a technology used by all GSM mobile devices to send information across a 2G network, and is already used widely in Africa for services such account information and callback services. As USSD is familiar in the region, and as there is no barrier in terms of handset requirements, Orange expects that over one million customers will use the service in the first year.
Orange launched this service at the end of 2011 for Mobinil customers in Egypt, and over 350,000 customers have connected Facebook via USSD in the first month. Orange is launching the service in Orange Côte d'Ivoire this month, and other markets in Orange’s African footprint will launch throughout 2012.
Orange says this the latest in a series of services designed to open up access to digital services in emerging markets such Google SMS chat and email via SMS, and the exclusive Alcatel One Touch range of phones with deep Facebook integration.
No special applications are required to use Facebook via USSD. Customers only need to type a specific code into their phone to open a Facebook via USSD session and enter a PIN code to access the service securely. If the customer is using Facebook via USSD for the first time, they will have to register by providing their Facebook login, Facebook password and by creating a PIN code.
Once connected to Facebook via USSD, customers can search for friends, invite friends, accept or deny friend requests, update their status and comment/like/unlike their friend’s status’. Customers will have the choice between four types of pricing: per session (10 to 20 minutes), daily, weekly and monthly. Exact bundles and tariffs will be confirmed by each country as the service comes to market.
MORE VALUE ADDED SERVICES NEWS
SimbaPay launches free UK to Nigeria money transfersNigerians living in the UK can now send money to any bank account or mobile phone in Nigeria instantly. Read More
Local languages now on EcoCashEconet Wireless has announced a new enhancement to the EcoCash mobile money wallet by unveiling multiple local languages to the EcoCash platform. Read More
Airtel, Verifone partner on NFC payment in GhanaAirtel Ghana has partnered Verifone Mobile Money to raise the bar in the mobile money space by introducing a contactless “tap and pay” near field communications (NFC) technology for payment. Read More
Globacom unveils National Mobile Health Insurance productNigerian national telecoms carrier, Globacom has unveiled a National Mobile Health Insurance Product to help improve access to quality health care among Nigerian population. Read More
MFS Africa to power cross-border xP2P services between MTN Mobile Money and M-Pesa in AfricaMFS Africa has announced that its mobile money hub (MFS Africa Hub) has been selected by telecom giants Vodafone and MTN to interconnect their respective M-PESA and MTN Mobile Money platforms in the East African region. Read More
Airtel Kenya partners Medanta Africare for mobile healthcareAirtel Kenya has joined hands with Medanta Africare to launch a new mHealth service that will allow customers access quality health advice from doctors through their mobile phones. Read More
MTN Mobile Money and Vodafone M-Pesa to interconnect Mobile Money ServicesCustomers of MTN Mobile Money and M-Pesa in East Africa will be able to transfer money to each other following an agreement between MTN Group and Vodafone Group to interconnect their mobile money services. Read More
Mobile money a game changerThere has been massive drop in the number of unbanked, thanks to the boom of mobile money services, a new World Bank report shows. Read More
Afrinvest unveils mobile app for online trading, investment managementAfrinvest Securities Limited at the weekend launched an online equity trading mobile application, offering clients mobile access to their brokerage accounts and portfolio data. Read More
Stanbic launches real time payments for electricity and DStvStanbic Bank Botswana has announced the introduction of state of the art, real-time electronic payments for Prepaid Electricity and DStv Subscription through its cellphone Banking and Internet Banking Channels. Read More
FEATURED STORYBuilding an African Dream: The Wyzetalk journey
Enterprise social networking company Wyzetalk examines the challenges and opportunities it encountered as a startup in Africa.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHNIMC infrastructure must be managed by credible people: NIMC chief
NIMC’s chief speaks to Kokumo Goodie about the role of the NIMC and his own legacy.
COMPANY NEWSMicrosoft, IICD launch employability hub in Ghana
Microsoft Ghana, in partnership with the International Institute for Communication and Development, has launched the TizaaWorks online platform, a one-stop online hub for employability and entrepreneurship.