Vodafone aims to bring mobile Internet to the masses in emerging countries

7 Apr

Vodafone has today announced a tie-up with Opera Software for pre-installing its Opera Mini 5 Internet browser for feature phones, on the carrier’s range of phones. The roll out will begin in India, South Africa, Turkey, Tanzania and Egypt, and will be followed by other geographies where Vodafone operates.

The two companies have worked on an enhanced version of the Opera Mini 5 browser, which will work on low-end handsets running on 2G networks. In a press release issued today, Vodafone said that it is also creating an on-screen browsing experience that is designed to help someone who may have little experience of the internet. The on-screen experience will feature step-by-step, simple instructions in local languages, with a strong emphasis on the use of intuitive icons to help those with lower levels of literacy.

“With this product, we can transform even basic handsets into very capable internet browsing devices, enabling millions of people to enjoy the social and economic aspects of the internet that many already take for granted,” said Jonathan Bill, Vodafone Internet services head of emerging markets.

A range of Vodafone applications is also in development, most of them designed to deliver the most social benefits to users such as email, finding a job, buying and selling services and products, learning foreign languages, as well as getting access to global applications.

With voice tariffs in India touching sub-paisa rates billed on a per second pulse, carriers are looking at data services to boost their ARPUs even as they compete with as many as 10 carriers in a single circle.

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