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Safaricom, Opera extend partnership

Kenya’s largest integrated telecoms operator, Safaricom, has extended its existing partnership with Opera Software to deliver the Opera Mini browser solution to its more than 17 million subscribers. 

This includes the launch of a co-branded version of the Opera Mini mobile browser, which is now available for download across Safaricom’s network in Kenya. This is part of a global agreement between Vodafone and Opera Software.

The deal delivers faster access to websites and easy entry to Safaricom portals. Safaricom subscribers can reach the content they want, with less frustration and expense. With just one click, customers have music, news, games, and information on Safaricom’s products and services at their fingertips.

Kenya has 22 million mobile phone users, which is around 55% of the total population. Safaricom, which is 40% owned by Vodafone, is the only network in Kenya that provides broadband high-speed data to its customers through its 3G network, Wimax and fibre.  Kenya is also the third largest market in Africa for Opera Mini.

According to Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, the partnership with Opera Software would significantly improve the internet experience of the firm’s growing base of data customers.

”With the launch of the Opera Mini browser, we are leveraging a key partnership to bring our data customers to a new, higher level of experience. This is aligned with our strategy of not just making the internet a mass product in Kenya, but also making it more efficient,” said Collymore.

At least nine out of every ten of the 8 million Kenyans who use the internet regularly do so through the Safaricom network

Already, 121 million people all over the world use Opera Mini. The solution  delivers the Web faster to almost any phone and cuts data costs by shrinking the pages down before they are delivered, while retaining all the functionality of a normal webpage.

“Africa is a booming market for us, and this deal with Safaricom will bring the best Internet experience possible to millions of people eager for mobile web access," said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. "Opera believes that Internet access is a universal right, and being part of bringing that to Kenya is key for us. Opera Software has always striven to develop the fastest and technologically most advanced browsers. As a result, the Opera browser is the choice for the majority of mobile web users.”

Research shows that mobile data use in Kenya is predominantly used for social networking, news and job seeking.   

A key reason for the success of Opera in Africa is its speed: loading Facebook just once on a handheld device will use up more than 200 KB worth of data.

With a browser like Opera Mini, which shrinks data down to a fraction of its original size, users can view Facebook 8.5 times using that same 200 KB.  At the same time, when the powerful compression technology in the full browser is applied to the Opera Mini browser, the Web is accessible on even the simplest handsets, including those with small screens and limited memory.

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