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Data vs. SMS Revenue for Safaricom: Data Wins!

By Wayan Vota on March 31, 2010

Here is a very heartening tweet from Ory Okolloh about Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile phone operator:

safaricom-dongle.jpg

If in deed, Safaricom broadband modems and their use are making Safaricom more money than SMS, its a great day for both mobile phone users and Internet business opportunities in Kenya.

Internet Business Opportunity

Obviously, the more people online and consuming data, means there is more opportunity for existing businesses of all kinds to use the Internet to reach new customers and create more revenues.

Yet this is an amazing opportunity for new businesses – new models and new entrepreneurs. The barrier to entry for online businesses is very low and with organizations like iHub, we will see a cornucopia of new businessmen trying out ideas.

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Mobile Phone Opportunity

Regardless of the Internet business opportunites, we should rejoice at the news that SMS is no longer the huge cash cow. Maybe now, mobile line operators will realize that Africa’s mobile phone future is IP based, not SMS and loosen up on SMS restrictions.

This would release a second wave of innovation – SMS is still a killer app and would be even more revolutionary if prices were low and it had the openness of IP-based software code development.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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