Mobile phones have become an integral part of our life. When we have a question, we take out our phone and ask google, when we get lost, Google helps again with its maps. We job search, chat with friends, find a date, complete academic certificates and everything using our phones and the internet. Most of us in Europe walk around with our contract phones and either have either unlimited data or a set amount of per month that we can use almost without thinking about usage. In Africa, that is not the case.
Although payment methods are changing with the increased usage of mobile money, data plans in Africa are relatively unchanged. People top up their phones, and either use the basic price per megabit, or buy a bundle which will give a set amount of data to be used over the month. The bundles are the better and on the whole the cheaper option, but for some reason, that data runs away like water from a leaky pipe. These days phones are so dependent on data that they seem to slowly steal it behind your back when you are not looking! (or your phone is in your pocket minding its own business) This isn’t a problem for those with contracts, but when you have a limited about of data, it can be extremely frustrating.
According to the Affordability Report, the cost of 1 gigabit of data in Africa is the the equivalent to 18% of the average African’s monthly income. That is a staggering amount of money to be spending on a gigabit of internet that could quite easily run out in a few days. But, if Africa is going to digitise and realise its potential of being the future of world innovation, a higher percentage of people need to have access to steady internet. Of course, hopefully, data prices will come down substantially, relative to salary. But, this does not solve the problem now.
Slide Airtime think they have found the solution for this, by letting people simply earn airtime. It is another example of taking current trends and innovations and modifying them for another use. Those of you who have played mobile games may have noticed that to get game currency you can watch adverts. In many instances the adverts pop up and don’t offer you anything, but more and more companies are monetising their adverts, giving people incentives to watch them. So, why not use this to actually give people something they need. Phone credit!
This is exactly what Sliide Airtime have done, and they have one the worlds most innovative app because of it. When users sign up for the app they received personalised content directly to the lock screens of their mobile phones. As well as sponsored content, users receive content from local and international publishers, including news. Users are also able to earn airtime by taking part in marketing research surveys for various brands. Already brands like Unilever have signed up to advertise on the survey because they know that users will definitely see their content.
Whilst they have their competitors around the world, Sliide have created a product that is perfect for the emerging markets. Taking into consideration, older slower phones, limited and slower internet and users who are potentially not as tech savvy means that they have a potentially huge market that others will find difficult to break into. They are already planning on entering the South African and Indian markets. This Nigerian innovation once again shows the world that Africa is an innovative force to be reckoned with.
Africans need better access to the internet, and that means being able to afford it. Sliide Airtime are leading the way in enabling people to access the internet. If you know of any other innovations that are increasing the reach of the internet in Africa, or you want to be a guest blogger get in contact with us on Twitter @InventiveAfrica or email, and please also share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.
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