Airtel Ghana and mobile messaging innovator DOTGO have today launched an SMS-based Internet service in a move expected to see over 4 million subscribers access to the internet without cellular data or Wi-Fi – whether on feature phones or smartphones.
The new service will see users get access to e-mail, news, and to websites like Wikipedia, Yahoo! and Facebook by just sending an SMS to DOTGO containing the name of the website they want to browse.
Manu Rajan, Marketing Director for Airtel Ghana commented: “DOTGO’s powerful platform has democratized the Internet for our subscribers. Yes, smartphone adoption is growing fast, but feature phones are still heavily in use. With DOTGO’s expertise, we have instantly increased Internet penetration in Ghana by enabling our feature-phone users to access the Internet with their existing phones.”
DOTGO responds with an interactive menu-based version of the website condensed and formatted for SMS. DOTGO targets nearly two thirds of the world who lack access to the Internet, either due to the phones they have or due to the cost implications.
Significantly, DOTGO’s messaging platform also provides mobile operators with much-needed protection against the growing revenue losses caused by Internet-based services that bypass the carrier, such as messaging delivered by OTT players. Mobile industry analyst Ovum estimated that OTT services may have cost operators as much as $32.6bn in 2013 alone.
DOTGO’s platform allows mobile operators to recoup these revenue losses and reclaim the relationship with the subscriber, while creating new revenue streams with innovative products that demonstrate clear value for the customer.
DOTGO co-founder and CEO Stefan Gromoll. “The benefit for mobile operators using DOTGO’s SMS Browsing service is that they can deliver basic Internet access to every single subscriber, from urban centers to the farthest corners of a country. They can then go on to use the same core platform from DOTGO to deliver a range of additional revenue-generating SMS- and data-based messaging services for feature phone and smartphone users alike.”