The spread of COVID-19 has touched every part of Africa. Governments’ lockdown restrictions to limit the spread of the virus have meant many people have felt isolated from their friends, families, and colleagues. But Africans are increasingly turning to mobile tech solutions, including Over-the-Top (OTT) applications, to keep in touch and to stay informed about the pandemic.
MTN in partnership with the Ayoba app allows MTN customers to connect with loved ones with no data costs. MTN has been offering zero-rated data for Ayoba in most of the 16 markets where it has been launched. This translated into 6 144 terabytes of free data and ca. $147,7m value provided via Ayoba during the COVID-19 period.
“MTN’s is working to provide access to affordable communications so people in our markets can reap the social, economic and developmental dividends of being online,” says David Gilarranz, MTN’s executive for group digital services. “Leveraging our established customer base, MTN has built a digital ecosystem spanning OTT services in messaging, media and advertising that aims to bring more people into the digital world.”
With lockdown measures still in place in many markets, the need for reliable information on COVID-19 has never been more critical. MTN customers are also benefiting from four dedicated Ayoba COVID-19 channels that provide vital information from relevant authorities at no data cost. In addition, MTN has added six channels for education, self-help, jobs and skills development information.
Since the beginning of April, Ayoba has reached over 2 million monthly active users. It offers users access to an ecosystem of digital and rich media services through channels, micro-apps and payment solutions, embedded within an African super-app.
At the same time, Ayoba is highly localised and tailored for African and Middle East consumer needs. The platform supports 20 languages spoken across our markets. Users can send and receive encrypted messages, share photos, videos, files and voice notes and can also subscribe to live channels. Localised content is available through curated channels aimed at entertaining, educating and empowering communities as well as a range of games.
Developed as an open digital platform that enables third-party innovation, Ayoba has the capacity to offer a rich and diversified experience. Businesses and content providers can engage with their customers using channels. Through this partnership with Ayoba, MTN delivers more value to the broader ecosystem of businesses, users and local developers and create experiences that are optimised for local communities.
Ayoba can be downloaded onto smartphones from the Google Play app store as well as the www.ayoba.me website.
About the MTN Group
Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator with a clear vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our customers in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. We are inspired by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code “MTN”. We are pursuing our BRIGHT strategy with a major focus on growth in data, fintech and digital businesses.
Ayoba is a free Instant Messaging (IM) application (App) developed and owned by SIMFY AFRICA – Cape Town, South Africa.
Although Africa is one continent, it is also the home to hundreds of unique cultures. Ayoba celebrates the diversity of Africa by providing a world-class messaging platform that reflects local needs and aspirations.
Ayoba’s inclusive approach to technology means that Ayoba users will be able to communicate with with anyone with a mobile device, even if they don’t have the Ayoba app. During an initial promotional period, this communication is made available at no cost, across selected mobile network operators.
Ayoba is available for now on GooglePlay for on Android.
Ayoba launched its first strategic partnership with MTN in Cameroon on the 4th of May 2019.