Ad-funded mobile internet enjoys big uptake in South Africa

Ad-funded mobile internet enjoys big uptake in South Africa

Over 25 million mobile phone users in South Africa now have access to mobile internet basics at no cost – and signs are that the new offering – from Vodacom – is already very popular.

The free internet service is powered by the Zero-D connectivity platform from Upstream, a UK-based mobile technology company whose product suite provides 1.2 billion people in developing countries with affordable and secure access to digital services on their mobile devices. Zero-D is an ad-funded free mobile internet platform that gives users the fallback option of a zero-rated web environment when they run out of credit.

Vodacom subscribers that have run out of data are automatically redirected to the Zero-D portal, branded Vodacom Flex, where they continue to have access to essential internet services.

These currently include web search and local and international news, as well as weather reports. The portal also gives subscribers the option of digitally topping up their service for increased airtime or data.

Since the introduction of the service Vodacom says it has seen a massive uptake, with 55 per cent of its subscriber base already engaging with the portal.  

Upstream worked with Vodacom to design and brand a set of internet services that will be meaningful in the South African market.


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