Facebook for every phone on Orange
VALUE ADDED SERVICESBy BiztechAfrica - 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
Safaricom marks 7 years of M-PESASafaricom is marking the 7th anniversary of the launch of its successful mobile money transfer service, M-PESA. Read More
SA’s Net1 launches MVC solution in USSouth African-based Net1 Mobile Solutions, a business unit of Net 1 UEPS Technologies, has launched its Mobile Virtual Card (MVC) technology with selected partner, Pay in Private, in the United States. Read More
NSE introduces enhanced notification system via mobile, emailThe Nigerian Stock Exchange has enhanced its notification system, with alerts to be sent to investors by phone or email each time they buy or sell a security. Read More
Digital music worth $9bn this yearMahindra Comviva and Ovum Consulting predict that India, Africa, Latin America and South East Asia will be exceptional markets for digital music growth. Read More
MasterCard, Etisalat celebrate award-winning partnershipEtisalat Group, the leading telecoms operator in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, has celebrated an enduring partnership with MasterCard that has brought award-winning technologies to the market. Read More
Airtel Kenya to empower farmers via mobileAirtel Kenya has established a Farmer's Information System to provide real-time information to Kenyan farmers through its mobile network in the country. Read More
MTN, ECOBANK expand cardless mobile money ATM servicesGhana's leading telecommunications provider, MTN and Ecobank, The Pan African Bank, have partnered to extend cardless ATM services to Ecobank ATMs across Ghana. Read More
Annual wagers on mobile casinos, poker to exceed $60bn in 2018A new report from Juniper Research has found that annual wagers via mobile handsets and tablets on casino-type gambling and poker games are expected to reach $62 billion globally by 2018. Read More
MoboFree gets growth funding from eVentures Africa FundNigeria’s MoboFree has raised significant growth funding from Netherlands based eVentures Africa Fund (eVA Fund) in order to expand its local presence in Lagos and Accra, start new offices in East Africa. Read More
CfC Stanbic unveils M-Pesa payments for businessesKenyan banks are reported to be scrambling to leverage Safaricom’s mobile banking platform, M-PESA, to attract more customers. Read More
FEATURED STORYMACRA demystifies spectrum management
Malawi's regulator explains the issues around spectrum allocation. Gregory Gondwe reports.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHYouthConnekt launches Mobile Apps for Human Development Challenge in Rwanda
Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and ICT and the UNDP, in close collaboration with Motorola Solutions, will power a Mobile App Challenge that will be implemented by YouthConnekt.