Zim’s data light news app hits 3m daily views

22Nov 2017
The Guardian
Zim’s data light news app hits 3m daily views

ZIMBABWE’S low data cost mobile news app, Zim News #datafree has received more than 3 million daily page views per day as citizens seek information on the country’s ongoing political crisis.

CEO of biNu, Gour Lentell

According to the latest usage statistics released by biNu, the tech- nology company behind the development of the app, it now has over 100 000 installations throughout the country.

In a statement from the company, Gour Lentell, CEO of biNu says, “As news of a possible military coup has been emerging in Zimbabwe, it’s become evident that the country’s citizens are relying more heav- ily than before on Zim News to receive updates and clari cation on the situation.”

biNu says its real-time monitoring has shown a dramatic increase in usage since 14 November. “By 15 November, app usage had tripled to more 3 million page views - an equivalent of nearly 100 million page views per month.”

Designed as a simple news reading app, Zim News #datafree dis- plays a variety of news sourced from RSS feeds published by news publishers on the internet. Despite the high number of page views, daily data usage per user was 1.1 MB, and the app itself has a small download footprint of only 4MB.

The app is zero-rated on Vodacom, CellC, and Telkom in South Af- rica, but not in Zimbabwe. However, the biNu platform on which Zim News has been developed resulted in data usage e ciencies up to 98% compared with other apps and websites.

“This makes it a popular and a ordable source of news, particu- larly in a country where data costs have otherwise proved to be pro- hibitive for most citizens,” notes the company.

According to biNu, with more people using their smartphones to get online for the very rst time, there’s a tremendous growth oppor- tunity for mobile network operators, content publishers, and mar- keters in emerging markets.

“Yet, many countries are struggling to get more than 25% of their populations online. High connectivity costs remain one of the big- gest obstacles preventing people in emerging markets from achiev- ing universal access.”

With almost 3.2 billion smartphones in use in the world today, emerging markets are set to bene t from widespread rst-time adop- tion.

According to Ericsson, by 2022, there will be more than a ten-fold increase in mobile data tra c in the Middle East and Africa region. biNu notes that amid the hype of surging data tra c, data a ordabil- ity for people in emerging markets isn’t just a fact of life. It’s a real and ongoing challenge.

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