Imagine every Kenyan getting access to the internet, browsing, and transacting without having to pay for data bundles… Imagine the steps Kenya will take with such an opportunity. Would you believe if we told you that this is exactly what is about to happen?
Well, the global giant tech company, Opera, through Opera Mini, is rolling out free data services for Kenyans. How? We spoke with them and here is what they had to say:
How do Opera Mini’s data-saving capabilities benefit users in Kenya, especially those with limited internet access?
In response to the pressing needs of the African market, Opera rolled out its highly popular mobile data-saving browser, Opera Mini. This innovative solution was designed to address the challenges faced by locals, given that the cost of data in Africa is among the highest in the world. Recognizing the urgent need for a browsing solution that is not only fast but also data-efficient, Opera stepped in to fill the gap. Thus, Opera Mini was created as a practical and reliable tool that enables users to browse the web with ease while consuming less data.
In 2006, when Opera Mini was just launched on the market, it was for many Africans the first window to the web thanks to its ease of use and incredible data-saving technology, allowing users to enjoy the web without worrying about running out of data. It all started with Opera Mini being used by students at universities as their first opportunity to have a mobile browser always on the go.
Now our browser, with more than 500 million installations from Google Play, is among the most popular apps on the continent because it provides users with up to 90% data savings – thanks to our unique data compression technology.
How does Opera ensure the security and privacy of its users while providing free internet access?
Opera has always focused on users’ privacy and security, having been the pioneering company to introduce features such as a free, built-in VPN, an ad blocker, a tracker blocker, a cookie dialogue blocker, and much more. Our browsers are free and no-log, so users can browse without providing any information about themselves.
Moreover, Opera is a Norwegian company, meaning it complies with EU regulations and all the strict GDPR rules and policies.
Can you tell us more about Opera’s Free Data Campaigns in Kenya?
With the advent of the pandemic and the subsequent shift to online activity across the globe, Africans were once again confronted with the challenge of high data costs and limited access to online learning, work, and socialization.
In response, Opera forged strategic partnerships with leading telecom companies across Sub-Saharan Africa, aimed at providing people with free browsing through Opera Mini. Working closely with MTN and Airtel in Nigeria, Safaricom and Airtel Kenya in Kenya, and MTN South Africa, Opera has been able to offer nearly 40 million people across five African countries, including Kenya, up to 3 GB of free browsing each month.
This initiative has helped to empower users throughout the continent, enabling them to establish businesses, connect with loved ones, and embark on educational journeys, all with greater ease and affordability.
How does Opera plan to sustain these campaigns in the long term?
Having been launched over three years ago, our free data initiative has proven its sustainability. Year after year, we continue to invest millions of dollars into our products for Kenya, making browsing faster, less data-consuming – or even free. We are committed to maintaining strong and trustworthy relationships with our partners to continue offering users the benefit of free data.
What impact does Opera hope to achieve with these campaigns?
Our goal is to facilitate the growth of the African digital economy. Free Data Campaigns provide users with significant amounts of free data every month (up to 3GB a month), and all they need to do is just browse via the data-saving browser Opera Mini. Around 40 million people across five countries have benefited from free data campaigns up to now, so we consider it to have had a high impact on fostering digitalization.
Finally, what other plans does Opera have for the Kenyan market, and how does it aim to contribute to the country’s digitalization efforts?
We know that Kenya, like Africa as a whole, is primed for significant growth. As of January 2022, Kenya had more than 23 million internet users – that’s an internet penetration rate of still just 42% of the total population. Kepios analysis indicates that internet users in Kenya increased by 7% between 2021 and 2022. So with so much of the population still yet to cross the digital divide, we think this number will only continue to take off in the coming years – a situation that is also characteristic of East Africa more broadly.
So this is again why Opera adopted its Africa First strategy in 2020, and why we’re committed to bringing connectivity to both Kenya and the continent as a whole. We are constantly investing in the African digital economy by providing affordable internet access, localized content, and innovative digital services. Opera’s commitment to the African digital economy is driving growth and innovation in the region, and the company is set to play a leading role in shaping Africa’s digital commerce and connectivity.