No data no problem — old technology to the rescue

Can old mobile technology get 3.8 billion people online? Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Can old technology get mobile users without data access online? Photo: Daniel Hayduk

It’s not new technology, but old technology, that will allow Tanzanian mobile users without data access to connect to local and global content.

How is this possible?

ONEm, a British telecommunications company is using good old voice and SMS to deliver ‘Internet style’ content without the need for data.

Podcasts, news updates, health information and educational tools are all part of the package, says ONEm CEO Christopher Richardson, who was in Dar for the GSMA Mobile 360 conference earlier this year.

“ONEm is empowering Africans with interactive and innovative services through the ubiquitous functionalities of the mobile phone: audio and SMS. Like the Internet, users can also contribute to local and global content on the platform,” says Richardson.

Smart, which operates in Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi, is set to roll out ONEm’s service in the coming months.

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