South Africa’s largest mobile operator Vodacom says that its recently launched ‘Vodacom Flex’ free-to-use advertisement-funded internet portal service has already been used by 55% of its subscribers. The solution – based on Upstream’s Zero-D connectivity platform – enables free-of-charge access to selected ‘essential’ internet services which currently include web search, local and international news and weather reports, and Vodacom users that have run out of data are automatically redirected to the Flex portal, which also offers the option of topping up data/airtime credit.
Kostas Kastanis, Head of Zero-D at UK-based Upstream, said in a press release: ‘For hundreds of millions of people across the world, topping up is not something that they can physically do or afford to do when they run out of credit. That means they are missing out on connectivity to the digital world. Vodacom has taken a leading step to address that shortfall in South Africa with its Vodacom Flex service … Millions of people in South Africa now have the ability to remain connected to digital information which they would not have had otherwise … In South Africa, on an average wage, one needs to work for two days to afford 1GB of data.’ Upstream’s release adds that from a mobile operator’s perspective, the Zero-D platform can increase customer satisfaction and reduce churn in competitive markets.