The lack of compelling online content has been identified as one of the major reasons why millions of people are still digitally excluded especially in Sub – Saharan Africa.
On an online Mobile Broadband Inclusion Roundtable organized by Huawei recently, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa for GSMA, AkinwaleGoodluck said that relevant and customized content targeted for specific markets was key in driving more people online.
“We have to promote content that is relevant, including language sensitive content, content that adds value, and content which is socially and locally relevant and brings people first internet experience and good experience to bring them back, to ensure them to see the value in buying data bundles,” he said.
MTN recently announced the launch of a TikTok data bundles in South Africa to ensure an increase in online activities. While another mobile operator, Telkom also introduced an improved contract with increased streaming of music or video content with content providing partners like Netflix and Showmax.
While talking about the importance of valuable content, Akinwale also emphasized the importance of governments taking some of their work online in an effort to encourage digital inclusion, and called on telecommunication operators and governments to collaborate in committing to boosting this aspect.
“It is not necessarily about affordability, if they have compelling reasons, they will go, so there is a lot of work for everybody to do,” Goodluck said.
In terms of this, South African telecommunication operator Telkom has provided zero-rated access to a wide range of educational websites and sites that provide useful COVID-19-related information, in an effort to draw people online and getting informed and educated during the lockdown period.
Kenyan telecommunication operator Safaricom has partnered with education content providers such as Shupavu291, Longhorn E-learning and Viusasa for free access to digital learning material, enabling primary and secondary school learners to take online lessons for free.
In a bid to bridge the digital divide during the lockdown, Huawei has also been offering university students in Ghana online ICT courses in Routing and Switching, WLAN, Security and Cloud Computing since April. Students who take part in the Free Home Study Program are offered data bundles as incentives for completing their courses.
“If the content is right, the relevance is proven and compelling enough, people will reflect all the cost of the access, and they will go online and do what they need to do as long as it is profitable, rewarding and they can see the value in it,” Goodluck said.