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2go, South African Mobile App Bigger than Facebook

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2go, mobile social network and one of African continent¹s quietest tech success stories, has come to dominate the Nigerian market, where it has over nine million active users’ ¬ 7million more than Facebook.

The proudly South African mobile social network is a 7-person business that¹s gone from startup to profitability in just four years ­ without ever marketing itself or taking a cent of outside financing.

Peter Lockhart, director of the company said the secret, has been balancing a tight focus on what 2go¹s users really want ­ a cheap, easy way to chat and socialize using their mobile phones ­ with the deep technical expertise needed to deliver that experience across thousands of different devices.
 
“Building mobile technology for an African market is tough. Data and SMS are expensive, and our users are price sensitive and savvy. That means we have to deliver an application that uses the absolute minimum of system resources and bandwidth.  Our response has been to develop proprietary communications protocols and compression algorithms that minimise the app¹s data usage” said Lockhart.
 
The 2go team has also cracked the technical challenge of producing an app that works equally well on all of the myriad feature phones that still dominate the African market.

“It¹s much, much harder to develop for feature phones than for smartphones. Partly because there is such a variety of platforms and operating systems. You need deep technical knowledge. This technical knowledge also extends to our ability to scale the back-end in a very resource efficient manner” Lockhart also said.

The fact that 2go works well on many handsets has been critical to the viral spread of the app, said Lockhart, adding “feature phones aren¹t going away any time soon. Projections from Informa indicate that non-smart phones will still comprise 85% of the African handset market in 2015”
 
2go has resisted the tempation to bloat its app with added features, added Lockhart. “Our users log in and out quickly, several times a day ­ they want things to be quick and simple,² he says. ³We¹ve thought through every menu item; every pixel is there because it serves a purpose”
 
Alongside this technical focus, 2go has also remained extremely alert and sensitive to the needs of its users. ³Our target market is not some kind of generic ŒAfrica” said Lockhart.  “We ask what country are they in, what region, what city?  2go really took off in Nigeria when we noticed that our users wanted to be able to chat within their university communities. So we did the research and created a chat room for each university in the country”
 
2go also actively solicits and follows up on suggestions from its users, added Lockhart.

“People want to be asked for their opinion. Many of our users are starved for entertainment and engagement. 31% of our Nigerian users tell us they don¹t watch television, but 66% of them spend two or more hours on their phones each day. It¹s a very sociable society, and 2go supports that sociability”
 
The insights gained in Nigeria have fed back into the South African market, where 2go has 1,5m active users and counting. The app also provides gateways to other popular social networks such as GTalk, MXIT and Facebook.

2go is a mobile social network targeting users in emerging markets, particularly in Africa. The company has over 21 million registered users with more than 10 million active users in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.

User adoption is growing rapidly at approximately 50,000 new registrations a day. 2go users message each other for free, meet new people and share updates and photos with friends and family. 2go¹s mobile currency, GoCredits, enables users to buy content, play games and message each other in in chat rooms.


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CBN Pulls Rate Cut Trigger, King Dollar Returns

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By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,

In a move that caught investors off-guard this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slashed interest rates by 100 basis points bringing the MPR to 11.5%. Given how inflation has been above target since 2015, rates were expected to remain unchanged for the rest of 2020 and possibly early 2021.

 

The question on the mind of many is whether the rate cut will achieve the desired effect by stimulating consumption and economic growth? Ongoing border closures and disruptions created by COVID-19 have pushed inflation to levels not seen since March 2018 above 13.20% while a drop in the production and price of Oil continues to rub salt into the wound. While looser monetary policy could support growth, it may come at the cost of rising inflation and weaker Naira.

 

Over the past few months, central banks across the globe have deployed unprecedented measures to defend their respective economies against the coronavirus menace. However, fiscal policy has been identified as the sharper tool with governments across the world providing a critical lifeline to keep the wheels of their respective economies rolling.

 

Outside of Nigeria, King Dollar made a return by appreciating against every single G10 currency. In times of uncertainty, everyone wants a juicy piece of the world’s most liquid currency. As coronavirus cases rise in Europe and other parts of the world, the flight to safety is likely to boost appetite for the Dollar. This is bad news for many emerging markets currencies, especially those with high Dollar-denominated debt.

 

On the commodity side, Oil prices remain heavily influenced by demand-side factors and the state of the global economy. Prices are likely to remain stuck around the $40 regions in the near term, especially If another round of possible lockdowns hit Oil demand. Looking at the technicals, WTI Crude is under pressure on the daily charts. If prices are unable to break away from the sticky $40 regions, the next key point of interest remains around $38. A weekly close above $41.50 could pave a path towards $43.


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NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System

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Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.

NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System

Mr Matthew Ojo, NCC Director in the Lagos Directorate Office said this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.

He said that the suspect used to watch DSTV channels free without subscription on his Android phone via an app which he downloaded on google play store.

“This suspect distributed the know-how to his telegram followers and on his blog with the aim of gaining more followers and viewership on his blog and makes more money through google ad-sense.

“The operation was based on surveillance which had earlier been carried out by the Multi-choice team and verified by a copyright inspector, ” he said.

He added that the arrest was made in collaboration with a team of copyright inspectors led by the Head of Enforcement Department, Mr Charles Amudipe.

Others included; a team from Multichoice Nigeria led by Mr Umar Ibrahim and policemen from Lagos Command Headquarters, Ikeja.

Ojo said that the joint team conducted an anti-piracy operation at the premises of the culprit in Amukoko, Lagos.

According to him, the suspect was contacted on phone by a member of the operation team on the disguise of patronising him. “The suspect came out to meet the caller and in the process of discussion, he was apprehended.

“The suspect took the team to his resident. The squad paraded his one-room apartment and recovered his laptop and phones used in perpetrating the ungodly act. “He was arrested and brought to the copyright commission office for further investigation, ” he said.

Ojo said that, on getting to the commission’s office, the statement of the suspect was taken and the inventory of items seized from him taken. He said that investigation on the matter was still ongoing and if found guilty the suspect will be charged to court.

 


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NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.

 

The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.

 

A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.

 

This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.

 

Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.

 

Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.

 

They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.

 

Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.

 

According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.

 

However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”

 

The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.

 

Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.

 


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