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WhatsApp Rival, Moya Messenger, Enters Nigeria With Data-Free Initiative

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Moya Messenger

Data-free instant messaging app Moya Messenger is planning to make a foray into the social media space of Nigeria. After what can be regarded as a successful play in South Africa where it launched, the app is not relenting on its mission to displace WhatsApp and other messaging apps from the market.

First off, WhatsApp, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, has been able to blow rivals such as WeChat, Blackberry Messenger (BBM), Mxit and others out of the water. For establishing itself as the most affordable and easy-to-use messaging platform, it was easy for WhatsApp to gain substantial traction in a country where internet penetration is 54 percent.

This new player, Moya, could actually be a challenge to the dominance of WhatsApp. Launched by biNu, an Australian company, the app is described as the world’s first data-free messaging service.

Neither data bundle nor call credit is required to use this one. Since its launched in 2014, Moya has been in the trail of the company’s intention of providing affordable internet that does not need a high-speed connection.

With the way Africans have been clamouring for the reduction of the seemingly disgruntling internet rates in their respective countries, this new messenger’s entry into the Nigerian market could really make things a lot more interesting.

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This is especially as the company promises every feature and mixture that makes WhatsApp convenient without the cost of data. Advertisers pay for the data which the end-user incurs when they put up ads on the platform.

What’s The Catch?

Moya offers unlimited texting, group chat, end-to-end security with automatic encryption of messages and an automatic contact discovery that lets users connect with others using the app.

Nevertheless, while message attachments – videos, voice notes, documents, etc. – are fully supported, sending media is not data-free. Any user that does this is warned that they will accumulate data costs or need to connect to WiFi.

Moya, which now has 75,000 active users in South Africa, has a commercial model that gives business access to its users. Although, all business communications is done on an opt-in basis only.

But the included constant video ads within a sequence of every 30 minutes may not sound so interesting for Nigerians, particularly those who are used to uninterrupted messaging on existing platforms. But, again, the big picture, at least for the user, is “no data.”

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Of the 63 percent of Nigerians that use the internet, most of which from their smartphones, around 41 percent use Facebook and WhatsApp. At least once in a day, 21 percent of these users check social media.

Mind you, instant messaging is a hot potato in the country. Though Moya has a lot of competition to think about, only time will tell if the messaging app is a force to be reckoned with and if Zuckerberg will buy it as well.


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