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Wednesday, Oct 17th

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

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.

According to the latest usage statistics released by biNu, the technology 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 heavily than before on Zim News to receive updates and clarification 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 displays 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 Africa, but not in Zimbabwe.

However, the biNu platform on which Zim News has been developed resulted in data usage efficiencies up to 98% compared with other apps and websites.

"This makes it a popular and affordable source of news, particularly in a country where data costs have otherwise proved to be prohibitive for most citizens," notes the company.

According to biNu, with more people using their smartphones to get online for the very first time, there's a tremendous growth opportunity for mobile network operators, content publishers, and marketers in emerging markets.

"Yet, many countries are struggling to get more than 25% of their populations online. High connectivity costs remain one of the biggest obstacles preventing people in emerging markets from achieving universal access."

With almost 3.2 billion smartphones in use in the world today, emerging markets are set to benefit from widespread first-time adoption. According to Ericsson, by 2022, there will be more than a ten-fold increase in mobile data traffic in the Middle East and Africa region.

biNu notes that amid the hype of surging data traffic, data affordability for people in emerging markets isn't just a fact of life. It's a real and ongoing challenge.

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