In today’s digital age, access to the internet is a fundamental driver of socio-economic development. Recognizing the importance of connectivity, various initiatives have been launched in Kenya to provide free data to underserved populations, with the goal of bridging the digital divide and fostering connectivity. One prominent player in this effort is Opera, a company that has partnered with leading telecom companies to offer free browsing through Opera Mini. In this Q&A interview with Kenyan Wall Street, we delve into Opera’s Free Data Campaigns in Kenya and their mission to enhance digitalization and connect people.
In this article
1. Can you provide an overview of the free data campaigns by Opera in Kenya and their objectives?
Opera: With the onset of the pandemic and the increased reliance on online activities, Opera recognized the challenge of high data costs and limited internet access in Africa. In response, we forged strategic partnerships with telecom giants like Safaricom and Airtel Kenya in Kenya, aimed at providing free browsing through Opera Mini. Across five African countries, including Kenya, we have empowered nearly 40 million people with up to 3 GB of free monthly data. This initiative aims to ease access to online opportunities, including education, work, and entrepreneurship.
2. How do these campaigns aim to enhance digitalization in Kenya?
Opera: Kenya, like many African nations, has significant untapped digital potential. With just a 42% internet penetration rate as of 2022, there’s room for growth. Opera’s “Africa First” strategy is all about developing mobile products and services tailored to African consumers. We invest in affordable internet access, localized content, and innovative digital services. By prioritizing the African digital economy, we aim to drive growth and innovation, playing a leading role in shaping Africa’s digital commerce and connectivity.
3. What specific initiatives or strategies are being implemented to connect people through these free data campaigns?
Opera: Our Free Data Campaigns provide users with up to 3GB of free data monthly, simply by using Opera Mini. We focus on creating market-relevant products with exceptional data-saving capabilities. This approach has garnered us a highly loyal user base, as Opera Mini has empowered countless individuals in Africa for over 15 years. Our users actively engage in our activities and campaigns, fostering a strong online community.
4. What impact have these campaigns had on internet accessibility and usage in Kenya?
Opera: The impact has been substantial. Around 40 million people across five African countries, including Kenya, have benefited from our Free Data Campaigns. Users have reported increased access to online work, entrepreneurship, and education. Opera Mini’s data-saving capabilities have been instrumental in bridging the digital divide and fostering digitalization.
5. Are there any partnerships or collaborations with telecommunications companies or other organizations to support these initiatives?
Opera: Yes, to support our Free Data Campaigns, we’ve partnered with 11 key telecom companies across sub-Saharan Africa, including Safaricom and Airtel Kenya in Kenya, MTN and Airtel in Nigeria, and MTN South Africa. These partnerships are crucial in expanding the reach of our initiatives.
6. What measures are in place to ensure that the free data campaigns reach underserved or remote areas in Kenya?
Opera: We work closely with our telecom partners to ensure that the campaigns reach even the most remote areas. Our goal is to leave no one behind in the digital revolution. By collaborating with local telecoms, we extend our reach to underserved regions, ensuring equitable access to free data.
7. How are these campaigns being funded, and is there a sustainability plan in place to ensure their continuity?
Opera: Opera generates revenue primarily through Search and Advertising. These revenue streams support our growth and enable us to invest millions of dollars into our products for Kenya. We’ve been running our free data initiative for over three years, demonstrating its sustainability. We remain committed to maintaining strong partnerships with telecom companies to ensure the continued provision of free data to users, contributing to Kenya’s digital development.